China has seen significant growth in the area of drug research and development in the past few years, and this growth will continue into the fourth quarter of 2008 with the opening of two new preclinical facilities in Shanghai.
Earlier this month, preclinical contract research organization (CRO) MPI Research opened a 50,000-square-foot building in Shanghai’s Chuansha Economic Park. The new facility, a result of a recently formed joint venture between MPI Research and Shanghai Medicilion, will provide preclinical drug discovery and development services in Asia.
Preclinical research powerhouse Charles River Laboratories also announced this month plans to expand its global reach with a new 60,000-square-foot facility in Shanghai. Slated to open in early 2009, the new facility will support a growing demand from multinational pharmaceutical clients for outsourced drug development services, according to a company release. Charles River and Shanghai-based Shanghai BioExplorer formed a joint venture last year to create Charles River Preclinical Services Greater China last year. The new facility is the result of this partnership.
“As our clients make their initial forays into China, we are creating a center of excellence that embodies global best practices alongside them,” said president, chairman and CEO James Foster in a company release. “Our clients have come to appreciate and rely on the expertise Charles River brings to their drug development efforts, and the convenience of our facilities in close proximity. The same high standards of research, safety, humane care and good laboratory practices that globally distinguish Charles River are replicated in our Shanghai facility. Expanding into this arena is a marathon—not a sprint—and this facility marks the first step in our journey.”
Perhaps a testament to China’s emergence as a center for drug development and innovation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will open the first overseas office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in China by the end of this year. Staff will be placed in Beijing this year, with more staff scheduled to post in Shanghai and Guangzhou in 2009. The department anticipates a total of eight U.S. nationals in China by next year. The China offices are part of a larger plan to open FDA offices in China, India, Europe and Latin America by the end of 2009.