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Pharmaceutical companies seek global solutions

Updated: 2012-10-09 09:15
By Liu Jie ( China Daily)

Thierry Bernard doesn't need to be convinced of the quality of China's healthcare industry.

But the vice-president of commercial operations, worldwide sales, marketing and customer service at the French company bioMerieux, says there is still widespread bias against Chinese firms, among some in the industry.

Pharmaceutical companies seek global solutions

A Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co Ltd display at a medical exhibition. The company has decided to expand in foreign markets by setting up plants overseas. [Photo/China Daily] 

Pharmaceutical companies seek global solutions

After 20 years in China, Bernard's firm, a worldwide group specializing in vitro diagnostics for medical and industrial applications, set up a joint venture with Shanghai Kehua Bio-engineering Co Ltd, a major Chinese diagnostic company, in 2007.

It also acquired the fast-detection equipment producer Meikang Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co Ltd in 2010.

The French firm, which boasts a network covering more than 150 nations and regions, has since been helping its Chinese partners sell their products and promote their technologies around the world.

As far as Bernard is concerned, such joint venture agreements with Chinese companies are mutually beneficial, in their efforts to expand their international market.

China has now become bioMerieux's third-largest market by sales, only after France and the United States. Its annual growth now increasing between 20 percent and 25 percent, compared with the company's global growth of 5 percent to 6 percent.

"The Chinese companies don't need our money. They have plenty of cash. But we certainly need their experience in the local market, and their knowledge of emerging markets", he says.

"But there is still a bias against Chinese companies by some US and European counterparts, which still doubt the merits of forming mergers with, or making acquisitions of, companies here."

Bernard adds that China's leading healthcare companies compete well in three areas, in what is a highly competitive worldwide industry: on price, on creativity and on their ability to produce products that are easy to make and highly efficient.

Despite the international bias suggested by Bernard, the list of Chinese companies looking to increase their international presence is becoming longer, whether they want to set up manufacturing plants overseas, list on foreign stock exchanges, or establish joint ventures with multinational partners.

One such company is BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute)Shenzhen.

On Sept 17, it announced plans to acquire Complete Genomics Inc, a US-based leader in whole human genomic sequencing, for $117.6 million.

Whole human genome sequencing is used by research centers to conduct medical research that in the future is expected to be used by doctors and hospitals to improve both prevention and treatment of various types of disease.

BGI-Shenzhen operates international genome sequencing centers, which support genetic research into agriculture, animals and humans.

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