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Nov
29
Sandeep Singh Dhillon
AstraZeneca and Chinese Future Industry Investment Fund establish joint venture to develop new medicines in China
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AstraZeneca today announced a strategic joint venture with the Chinese Future Industry Investment Fund (FIIF) to form an equally-owned, stand-alone company in China to discover, develop and commercialise potential new medicines to help meet unmet needs globally, and to bring innovative new medicines to patients in China faster. FIIF is managed by the SDIC Fund Management Company (SDIC Fund), a private equity management company.

The new company, Dizal Pharmaceutical, incorporates all scientific and technical capabilities of AstraZeneca’s Innovation Center China (ICC), and holds exclusive rights to develop and commercialise three potential medicines currently in pre-clinical development from AstraZeneca’s pipeline in its main therapy areas of oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and respiratory. It is also expected to initiate novel clinical programmes. The FIIF will contribute funding and expertise in establishing strategic partnerships in China.

Dr. Xiaolin Zhang, previously Head of AstraZeneca’s ICC, has been named as Chief Executive Officer of the new company. All staff employed by the ICC have been invited to join the new company.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca has a long-standing and strong commitment to China, which we are reinforcing today with this ground-breaking joint venture. By joining forces with the FIIF, we aim to accelerate the local discovery and development of innovative, affordable medicines for patients in China and around the world.”

Guohua Gao, Chairman of SDIC Fund, said: “FIIF is delighted to be collaborating with AstraZeneca to promote the development of innovative medicines. AstraZeneca’s Innovation Center China has an excellent track record of drug discovery, and the synergy created by combining AstraZeneca’s scientific talent and assets with FIIF’s China expertise and funding will help further promote innovation in medical science.”

The remit of the FIIF in the pharmaceutical industry is to promote the development and manufacturing of innovative medicines in China through strategic partnerships. The joint venture supports AstraZeneca’s commitment to enhancing China’s research and development capabilities through diversified external partnerships that deliver value to patients in China.

SDIC Fund Management Company (SDIC Fund) is an independent private equity fund manager established in August 2009. It currently advises and manages more than RMB 60 billion of capital. The Future Industry Investment Fund is one of the funds that are managed by SDIC Fund. The limited partners of SDIC Fund include a wide range of institutional investors across China. The core strategy of SDIC Fund is to invest in market leading companies with attractive growth prospects and outstanding management teams. In partnership with the portfolio companies and their management teams, it aims to contribute strategically and add business value to the companies. SDIC Fund prides itself on its ability to forge effective and mutually rewarding partnerships with exceptional management teams to execute its strategy of investing in quality businesses, and adding value to make them grow to become leaders in their respective industry. SDIC Fund’s primary focus in China includes healthcare, advanced manufacturing, TMT and environmental protection.

About AstraZeneca in China

Since entering China in 1993, AstraZeneca has been committed to continuously following the science, focusing on innovation and becoming one of the most trusted healthcare partners to bring high quality, innovative medicines and complete disease solutions to Chinese patients from disease prevention to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. We develop long-term partnerships with Government, academia and local scientists across research and development (R&D) and manufacturing.

AstraZeneca has end-to-end R&D capabilities in China, from discovery to clinical development and manufacturing of innovative medicines. Our comprehensive presence includes manufacturing sites in Wuxi and Taizhou and a China Distribution Centre in Wuxi. AstraZeneca’s China headquarters are based in Shanghai and the company has more than 11,000 employees throughout the country.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

Full article is available at http://www.worldpharmanews.com/astrazeneca/4208-astrazeneca-and-chinese-future-industry-investment-fund-establish-joint-venture-to-develop-new-medicines-in-china

Jul
31
Sandeep Singh Dhillon
GlaxoSmithKline’s new boss streamlines R&D, axes slew of drugs – Reuters
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Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline’s new chief executive announced plans on Wednesday to narrow the focus of the group’s drug research by ditching more than 30 drug projects to improve returns in its core pharmaceuticals business.

Emma Walmsley, who took over in April, said GSK would in future allocate 80 percent of its R&D budget to respiratory and HIV/infectious diseases, along with two other potential areas of oncology and immuno-inflammation.

Thirteen clinical and around 20 pre-clinical programmes will be stopped, partnered or divested, and the group is considering options for its rare diseases unit after a strategic review.

It also plans to stop selling the struggling diabetes drug Tanzeum and end a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson over experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug sirukumab, as well as divesting around 130 old drugs with limited sales.

GSK has lagged behind rivals recently in producing multibillion-dollar blockbusters and has suffered a number of high-profile failures, undermining faith in its R&D skills.

“We’ve been too broadly spread,” Walmsley told reporters, adding that the overhaul would not result in a lower R&D budget because GSK had been investing too little in individual experimental drugs in the past.

Indeed, spending could rise as Walmsley and her team go shopping for promising early-stage experimental drugs to bolster the pipeline in GSK’s priority areas.

The announcement came as Britain’s biggest drugmaker reported a 12 percent rise in adjusted earnings per share in sterling terms to 27.2 pence on sales up 12 percent at 7.32 billion pounds ($9.53 billion).

Analysts, on average, had forecast EPS of 26.2 pence and sales of 7.26 billion pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The group reiterated its outlook for 2020, first given in 2015, forecasting sales growth of low-to-mid single digits and adjusted earnings of mid-to-high single digits on a constant currency basis.

For 2017, it now sees EPS growth of 3-5 percent, against 5-7 percent predicted previously, following investment in a “priority review voucher” to accelerate U.S. approval of a new HIV medicine.

Shares in the group fell 1.3 percent by 1400 GMT, with some investors disappointed that Walmsley had not taken the opportunity to increase long-term financial targets.

Given that she announced an extended cost-cutting programme to deliver an additional 1 billion pounds of annual cost savings by 2020, UBS analyst Michael Leuchten said the cautious approach “suggests tougher underlying trends”.

Following Astrazeneca

Walmsley, who previously headed GSK’s consumer health unit after 17 years working for L’Oreal, is known for her focus on benchmarking business performance and had been expected to revamp pharma R&D.

She had previously said she was considering the divestment of older antibiotics and planning to sell two UK nutritional brands.

Overhauling GSK’s R&D machine is her biggest task, however, and she wants scientific and commercial teams to work closely together to pick winners.

The changes will take time to deliver results but Walmsley does have a window as GSK is not expecting its next wave of new drugs until after 2020. It also has no further major patent expiries until 2026.

To some extent GSK is following in the footsteps of its smaller British rival AstraZeneca, which has divested a large number of non-core drug projects recently. Significantly, former AstraZeneca executive Luke Miels, who joins in September, will be a key lieutenant for Walmsley during the shake-up.

GSK benefited once again in the quarter from a weak pound, after last year’s Brexit vote, as well as strong demand for HIV medicines and the failure, so far, of generic firms to win U.S. approval for copies of its inhaled lung drug Advair.

But HIV competition is set to increase next year and U.S. generics to Advair, which has generated more than $1 billion in annual sales for GSK since 2001, are likely by mid-2018.

The company extended a commitment to pay its current 80 pence per share annual dividend through 2018.

(This version of the story adds dropped first name of CEO in second paragraph)

Additional reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Louise Heavens and Adrian Croft

Mar
29
ragupathyrenganathan
Sanofi poaches AstraZeneca scientist as new research head – Yahoo News
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LONDON (Reuters) – French drugmaker Sanofi has poached one of AstraZeneca’s top scientists to be its new research head in another high-profile departure for the British drugmaker.

Sanofi said on Tuesday that Yong-Jun Liu had been appointed as head of research with effect from April 1, reporting to Elias Zerhouni, the group’s president of global research and development.

Liu, a specialist in immunology with more than 250 published articles in leading academic journals, currently heads up research at AstraZeneca’s MedImmune biotechnology division, a position he has held since 2014.

Prior to that he led programmes at Baylor Research Institute and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he was founding director of the Cancer Immunology Research Institute.

His decision to leave AstraZeneca follows the exit last June of Briggs Morrison, the company’s former chief medical officer and head of late-stage drug development, and respiratory and inflammatory medicines head James Ward-Lilley.

AstraZeneca is going through a transition as older drugs lose patent protection and it invests heavily in new medicines, especially in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

It has a promising pipeline of experimental drugs but has also suffered some recent setbacks, including last week’s failure of its marketed heart drug Brilinta as a treatment for stroke patients and earlier disappointing results with a drug to treat lung and abdominal cancer mesothelioma.

Sanofi, meanwhile, is seeking to rejuvenate its early-stage pipeline and Zerhouni said Liu’s experience in immunology, oncology and translational medicine would be “vital assets” for this task.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely)