Sanofi Unveils First Global Research Institute in China to Develop Innovative Drugs

Published on: April 14, 2021
Author: Amy Liu

Sanofi has opened its fourth global research institute and the first such center in China to advance its innovative medicine development.

The drugmaker aims to invest nearly EUR20 million (USD24 million) each year over the next five years in the 4,000-square meter facility located at the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Paper reported, citing the Paris-headquartered company’s announcement yesterday.

The center in eastern China is expected to hire more than 50 researchers by the end of 2022, the report added.

The addition follows two multinational drugmakers’ shutdowns of their research centers in China. Brentford-based GlaxoSmithKline said in August 2017 it will terminate its neuroscience R&D center in Shanghai due to its portfolio prioritizing. A month after that, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. said it will close its Shanghai R&D center amid global cuts.

Sanofi’s Suzhou institute does not make generic drugs but innovative ones, said Pius Hornstein, president of Sanofi China.

The institute will improve Sanofi’s early-stage research capabilities in the fields of oncology, immune system, and inflammation to meet an unmet demand by the sped-up basic research and drug development, he added.

Sanofi, one of the world’s biggest vaccine makers, has no plans yet to develop vaccines in the Suzhou facility but pays high attention to vaccine development in China, said Hornstein.

The new center will join hands with the other three global counterparts, said Xiao Changchun, head of the institute. The other Sanofi centers are in France, the US, and Germany.

The institute is a gateway for Sanofi to team up with Chinese universities and biopharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs, Xiao added.

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