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Drug R&D collaborations in China flower as Big Pharma focuses on Asia

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Over the last few years the world's biggest pharma companies have been sinking deep roots--and billions of dollars--into new R&D efforts in China as operations in the U.S. and Europe are restructured and downsized. Drawn by a growing drug market and a massive patient population, the pharmas have been creating their own research organizations in the country. And in the process a multibillion-dollar market in partnerships with R&D outsourcers, local drug developers and academic groups has flowered--with the promise of billions more to come.

Xiang Jun, an analyst for Forward Business Intelligence, estimated the R&D outsourcing industry at $4 billion in 2010, with a blistering 25% annual growth rate, according to an in-depth report from China Daily. That same year Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) conducted 17 trials in China, with another 37 online through the end of this year. And all of them are collaborating in some way with local research groups.

"R&D projects being conducted by Chinese and foreign pharmaceutical companies, even though no specific statistics are available now, are developing faster than the outsourcing sector," Xiang told China Daily.

In this new world, collaborations are growing from straight trial outsourcing to more and more drug discovery and development partnerships.

"In the past decade, the majority of the cooperative projects were outsourced developments undertaken by Chinese partners with the use of contracts that mainly pertained to clinical studies and trials," he said. "Now, more and more projects concern early-stage research, including the development of compounds and small molecules."

- here's the feature from China Daily

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