AstraZaneca team up China tech giants to boost sales, expand R&D
Sep 21, 2018 (China Knowledge) - Pharmaceutical giant AstraZaneca no longer contented just to be a drug supplier in China. The drug maker plans to use artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and smart diagnostics to offer a broad healthcare services in China.
AstraZaneca has been expanding rapidly in China and it has more than doubled its sales in the country since 2012, and with the recent regulatory reforms it helped the company to fast-track new drugs. The global company now generates 18% of its income from China alone. In 2017, AstraZaneca’s drug sales grew by 15% amounting nearly USD 3 billion.
At the same time the company is continuing to invest in the country, forming a USD 133 million joint venture with state-backed investment firm China State Development and Investment Corporation’s (SDIC) fund. This new company Dizal Pharmaceutical will be located in Wuxi City that will conduct R&D operations for AstraZaneca.
Beside this JV, AstraZaneca has also announced partnerships with Chinese giants Alibaba and Tencent. It will work with Alibaba’s Ali Health to develop smart health services such as AI-assisted screening and diagnosis while its partnership with Tencent aims to combat online sales of counterfeit drugs through the use of big data.
While the partnerships may not directly impact AstraZaneca’s current sales, it will help the company to secure a greater market share and give it greater visibility in the healthcare market.
The drug maker continues to take advantage of China’s increased use of innovative Western drugs. Last year, it won the fastest approval for lung cancer pill Tagrisso and hopes to get approval for a new anemia drug Roxadustat by this year.
AstraZaneca sees the huge potential in the Chinese oncology drugs and treatment. According to global health data, China has the greatest number of cancer and diabetes patients which AstraZaneca aims to get more drugs to be covered by insurance schemes and fast-track approvals to meet this growing demand.
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