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Shanghai to get new Pfizer clinical trial centre
( 2003-11-05 23:53) (China Daily)

Pfizer, the world largest pharmaceutical company, will soon set up a regional headquarters and its first clinical trial centre in the city, which already has some of the best medical talent and medical science resources in the country.

Allan Gabor, chairman and general manager of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Ltd China, told China Daily: "The legal procedures for setting up the regional headquarters are now under way and the Shanghai-based clinical trial centre project is an indication of our confidence in China.''

After the acquisition of Pharmacia in April this year, Pfizer became the largest pharmaceuticals company in the world. Shanghai-based Pharmacia has one holding company and three factories in China, so the acquisition has greatly accelerated Pfizer's new business in China, requiring the setting up of a regional headquarters to facilitate better national management.

At present, Pfizer offers 40 innovative products in China and another 13 new drugs are planned to be introduced to Chinese consumers within five years. This is why it plans to build a clinical trial centre in Shanghai.

~"China's clinical trial centre will not only be concerned developing drugs for local approval, but also be part of Pfizer's global R&D (research and development) network,'' said Gobar.

Clinical trial is the last phase in the development of new drugs, and Chinese medical institutes are becoming increasingly aware that active participation in international clinical trials is essential to success in the industry. Pfizer is the second multinational pharmaceutical company to set up a clinical trial centre in China, following in the footsteps of AstraZeneca.

Reliable resources said that Pfizer China has investigated some local industrial parks, including Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, which has been dubbed the city's "medicine valley,'' but that the final location has not yet decided.

Next year, Pfizer's clinical trial centre will start a programme focusing on "men's health,'' with the co-operation of three local hospitals.

"Shanghai is the right place because of its abundance of trained medical personnel, good scientific and investment environment, and especially its efficient and transparent government,'' said Gabor.

Aside from Pfizer, a number of other multinational pharmaceutical companies have expressed their willingness to develop R&D centres in the city.

The Shanghai branch of Swiss-based Roche will present a proposal for setting up a R&D centre in China to its headquarters in Switzerland within four to six weeks. "We expect to develop an R&D programme in China over the next five to 10 years, and right now we are working closely with China's science institutes to develop research projects,'' said Dr Franz Humer, chief executive officer of Roche.

In early October, another world-leading pharmaceutical company, US-based Eli Lilly, declared operational its China research lab in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, built in co-operation with its Chinese partner Shanghai ChemExplorer, a chemical research company.

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