WuXi buys in its backyard

CRO purchases two China-based clinical research services companies

Kimberely Sirk
SHANGHAI—WuXi PharmaTech Inc., a pharmaceutical,biotechnology and medical device research and development services company withoperations in China and the United States, recently shook hands on a deal topurchase two related contract clinical research services companies. MedKeyMed-Tech Development Co. Ltd. and Jiecheng Med-Tech Development Co. Ltd., bothbased in Shanghai, were acquired in late October. 
 
Combined, MedKey/Jiecheng have about 80 employees andoperate in 15 cities in China, with offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.The five-year-old companies provide services in regulatory affairs, Phase Ithrough IV clinical trial management and clinical trial site managementthroughout most of the regions in China. Their customer base includes bothmultinational pharmaceutical companies and domestic Chinese pharmaceuticalcompanies.
 
 
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 ofclinical operations. As part of WuXi, MedKey/Jiecheng will leverage WuXi'sbroad customer base and focus on clinical services needed by customers forChinese regulatory filings and market access. 
WuXi also set up a $50 million corporate venture fund toseed future scientific discoveries and innovation. The company said inmid-November that it established the fund so it can support technologies thatwill increase WuXi's service capabilities. It is expected that the cash willhelp support the work of scientists so they may bring their breakthroughs torealization, 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 stabilitystudies of small-molecule new chemical entities to support global marketingapplications.
 
 
Under that agreement, WuXi will build, equip and operate adedicated, fully cGMP-compliant, 25,000 square-foot analytical testing facilityin Shanghai to store and test stability samples and to perform other servicesfor BMS. WuXi will also employ a dedicated staff for stability testing, samplemanagement, analytical testing, pharmaceutical science, quality assurance,metrology and other services, including stability data reporting in support ofall global dossier submissions by BMS.
WuXi also made a key multinational buy in October as itgrabbed up Abgent Inc., a provider of biological research reagents, productsand services based in Suzhou, China, and San Diego, Calif.
 
 
Founded in 2001, Abgent is one of the world's largestmanufacturers of antibody reagents for research use. The company maintains acomprehensive catalog of about 20,000 antibody products. Abgent also serves asthe original manufacturer of antibodies distributed by large reagent suppliers.The company distributes its antibody reagent products by direct sales throughits web portal and small sales force and through a network of distributorsaround the world.
 
 
In addition to manufacturing antibodies, Abgent alsodevelops and produces peptides and proteins for research and diagnosticapplications.
 
"WuXi's acquisition of MedKey/Jiecheng continues ourstrategy to build an integrated platform of R&D services that will allowanyone and any company to discover and develop drugs more efficiently and costeffectively for patients," says Dr. Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi. "Thisacquisition provides WuXi an existing clinical development service capabilityand infrastructure that WuXi will expand and strengthen to serve our customers'growing clinical development needs in the fast-growing Chinese healthcaremarket."    
 
As a research-driven and customer-focused company, WuXiprovides pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies with abroad and integrated portfolio of laboratory and manufacturing servicesthroughout the drug and medical device R&D process. The company's servicesare designed to help its global partners in shortening the cycle and loweringthe cost of drug and medical device R&D. The operating subsidiaries of WuXiPharmaTech are known as WuXi AppTec.
 
 
WuXi PharmaTech's media relations representatives did notrespond to requests for comment for this story.

Kimberely Sirk

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