China’s pharmaceuticals industry is growing up

THE GLEAMING campus of BeiGene, a biotechnology company in Beijing, has all the trappings of a well-heeled research laboratory. They include screening machines to test the 500,000 compounds in BeiGene’s library, its animal-testing quarters with 10,000 creatures—and Wu Xiaobin, who last year left a job as Pfizer’s head for China to run the Chinese firm’s domestic operations. Signs of expansion are all around—especially for research on cutting-edge treatments that include gene and cell therapies. The number of scientists working on such drugs has almost doubled since last year; more are being hired. Fresh lab space has replaced old offices.

BeiGene, founded in 2010, is emblematic of China’s fast-changing pharmaceuticals industry—in more ways than one. On September 5th a New York asset manager alleged that it had inflated its sales figures—a sign of distrust of an industry with a historically well-earned reputation for shoddy quality and shady business practices. The company, which is listed on America’s Nasdaq stock exchange, denies wrongdoing. Investors seem to believe it: its share price has recouped half of the 17% drop precipitated by the accusations.

Markets’ optimism is doubtless fuelled by the huge promise of China’s pharmaceutical industry. In 2016 the country became the world’s second-biggest drug market. In 2018...

via Business Feeds

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