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Sanofi moves to bolster innovation in China

By He Wei in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-06-19 13:20
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Pius S. Hornstein, general manager for general medicines and country lead for Sanofi China and Cai Mingpo, founder and president of Cathay Capital on a celebration ceremony in Shanghai on Friday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has announced that it is investing in a global venture capital fund to support worldwide innovation and technology development, especially in China, its second largest market.

The capital injection of an undisclosed amount in Cathay Innovation will serve to strengthen Sanofi's connection to innovative healthcare ecosystems and help the company better navigate China, its strategic priority for development and innovation, said Pius S. Hornstein, general manager for general medicines and country lead for Sanofi China.

Hornstein said the move is backed by the expectation that China will drive 30 percent of global GDP growth over the next decade, with the healthcare market expected to make up roughly 10 percent of this growth.

"From the Healthy China 2030 strategy and the recent national two sessions, we find that new infrastructure, new technologies and new healthcare have been re-emphasized by the Chinese government," he said.

"By exposing Cathay to healthcare and us to innovation in a global context, such an investment will be beneficial to us in the future."

By leveraging diversified expertise and capabilities of different industries, Cathay Innovation has built a unique platform where start-ups and industry leaders such as Sanofi can work together to create new transformative innovations for the society.

"We will work closely to leverage new emerging health trends by collaborating with the most promising start-ups in the health sector," said Cai Mingpo, founder and president of Cathay Capital, a company related to Cathay Innovation.

Sanofi has been steadily pushing ahead with digitalization in China. The company recently teamed up with Chinese app WeChat Work to professionalize interaction between employees in a local context.

Hornstein noted the company will be ready to digitize chronic disease management in the future.

"If we want to contribute to the Healthy China 2030 initiative, we need to join forces with the government to tackle the key things in healthcare, which is not only building hospitals…but also making the infrastructure even more powerful," he said.

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