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WuXi buys in its backyard
SHANGHAI—WuXi PharmaTech Inc., a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device research and development services company with operations in China and the United States, recently shook hands on a deal to purchase two related contract clinical research services companies. MedKey Med-Tech Development Co. Ltd. and Jiecheng Med-Tech Development Co. Ltd., both based in Shanghai, were acquired in late October.
Combined, MedKey/Jiecheng have about 80 employees and operate in 15 cities in China, with offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. The five-year-old companies provide services in regulatory affairs, Phase I through IV clinical trial management and clinical trial site management throughout most of the regions in China. Their customer base includes both multinational pharmaceutical companies and domestic Chinese pharmaceutical companies.
The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
David Xi, founder, owner and CEO of the purchased companies, will continue to manage MedKey/Jiecheng as WuXi's executive director of clinical operations. As part of WuXi, MedKey/Jiecheng will leverage WuXi's broad customer base and focus on clinical services needed by customers for Chinese regulatory filings and market access.
WuXi also set up a $50 million corporate venture fund to seed future scientific discoveries and innovation. The company said in mid-November that it established the fund so it can support technologies that will increase WuXi's service capabilities. It is expected that the cash will help support the work of scientists so they may bring their breakthroughs to realization, while earning a few dollars for WuXi.
December brings to a close a busy year for WuXi. In March, the company partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) to conduct stability studies of small-molecule new chemical entities to support global marketing applications.
Under that agreement, WuXi will build, equip and operate a dedicated, fully cGMP-compliant, 25,000 square-foot analytical testing facility in Shanghai to store and test stability samples and to perform other services for BMS. WuXi will also employ a dedicated staff for stability testing, sample management, analytical testing, pharmaceutical science, quality assurance, metrology and other services, including stability data reporting in support of all global dossier submissions by BMS.
WuXi also made a key multinational buy in October as it grabbed up Abgent Inc., a provider of biological research reagents, products and services based in Suzhou, China, and San Diego, Calif.
Founded in 2001, Abgent is one of the world's largest manufacturers of antibody reagents for research use. The company maintains a comprehensive catalog of about 20,000 antibody products. Abgent also serves as the original manufacturer of antibodies distributed by large reagent suppliers. The company distributes its antibody reagent products by direct sales through its web portal and small sales force and through a network of distributors around the world.
In addition to manufacturing antibodies, Abgent also develops and produces peptides and proteins for research and diagnostic applications.
"WuXi's acquisition of MedKey/Jiecheng continues our strategy to build an integrated platform of R&D services that will allow anyone and any company to discover and develop drugs more efficiently and cost effectively for patients," says Dr. Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi. "This acquisition provides WuXi an existing clinical development service capability and infrastructure that WuXi will expand and strengthen to serve our customers' growing clinical development needs in the fast-growing Chinese healthcare market."
As a research-driven and customer-focused company, WuXi provides pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies with a broad and integrated portfolio of laboratory and manufacturing services throughout the drug and medical device R&D process. The company's services are designed to help its global partners in shortening the cycle and lowering the cost of drug and medical device R&D. The operating subsidiaries of WuXi PharmaTech are known as WuXi AppTec.
WuXi PharmaTech 's media relations representatives did not respond to requests for comment for this story.