WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), China's largest CRO, is blueprinting forays into two of the hottest locales for U.S. R&D, plotting to open offices in Boston and San Francisco.
The plan is to cut the ribbon on its new operations early next year, the company said, settling in amid top-tier research institutions, innovative biotechs and Big Pharma scout teams in each city. Once online, the outposts will complement WuXi's stateside offices in St. Paul, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego and Plainsboro, NJ.
"Our vision is to enable anyone and any company to discover and develop healthcare products to benefit the world's patients," WuXi CEO Ge Li said in a statement. "These new offices bring our comprehensive platform of integrated R&D services closer to where entrepreneurs are and where cutting-edge science is being done."
The move comes on the heels of WuXi's expansion into Israel earlier this year, an effort to cut in on the growing hub of biotech activity in that country.
Meanwhile, WuXi has been steadily growing its share of the global R&D market thanks to escalating demand for its discovery services and a broad-based expansion of its manufacturing platform. The company has also invested heavily in genomics, constructing China's first CLIA-certified lab in Shanghai and partnering with the likes of Illumina ($ILMN), Foundation Medicine ($FMI) and Pacific Biomarkers to flesh out its offerings in the field.
Last quarter, WuXi's revenue jumped 18% to $173.6 million in a gain driven by 16% growth in its lab services business and a 23% leap in manufacturing. Net income came in at $32 million on the quarter, a 5% increase over last year. WuXi slightly increased its full-year projections, accounting for its September buyout of CRO XenoBiotic Laboratories and its guidance-exceeding third-quarter performance. The company expects to pull in as much as $672 million in 2014, an improvement over its previously announced range of between $665 million and $670 million.
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