China’s C-Bridge hires ex-GlaxoSmithKline executive for U.S. investment drive

China U.S. investment
Hussain joins C-Bridge shortly after it put together a $400 million fund.

C-Bridge Capital has named Abbas Hussain as senior partner. The appointment gives the Chinese private equity player access to the network and knowledge of the one-time candidate for the top job at GlaxoSmithKline to support its global expansion.

Hussain ran the GSK pharma and vaccine unit until earlier this year when he decided to end his eight-year spell at the company. In an indication of the rise of China and the desirability of posts outside of Big Pharma, Hussain has gone from being touted as a possible CEO of one of the world’s largest drugmakers to taking up a senior partner post at C-Bridge in a year without it being seen as a step down.

At C-Bridge, Hussain will play a starring role in the investment shop’s drive to use its $400 million fund to bring innovation from around the world to China. 

C-Bridge has advanced this expansionist agenda over the past 12 months by putting together a  U.S. team based out of offices in Boston, New York and San Diego. The investment group has hired leaders with decades of experience working in biotech and Big Pharma in the U.S. and China to run these offices.

Bringing Hussain on board to work with Sean Cao, Ph.D., Jason Brown, Ph.D., Michael Keyoung, M.D., Ph.D., and Zhang Tong, Ph.D., positions C-Bridge to continue broadening the geographic scope of its investments. 

C-Bridge’s standout investments so far have involved companies in its home country. Starting out with the $200 million fund it put together in 2014, C-Bridge has gone on to play starring roles in a $150 million investment in antibody shop Tasgen Biotechnology and a $100 million round in hepatitis C startup Ascletis.

The staffing up of the U.S. offices and formation of a partnership with Israel’s BioLineRx show C-Bridge has ambitions outside of China, though. Hiring Hussain furthers these ambitions.

“Abbas is a valuable addition to our team, which is focused on identifying emerging industry leaders across biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and in vitro diagnostics to bring global innovation into China,” C-Bridge CEO Fu Wei said in a statement.