WuXi AppTec ($WX) is continuing its rise to the forefront of China's CRO world, unveiling its new cGMP biologics manufacturing facility last week, a plant it says is the first in the nation to meet U.S. standards.
CEO Ge Li said the all-disposable facility demonstrates the CRO's commitment to providing cutting-edge drug discovery and manufacturing services to its clients around the world, and, perhaps to flex the strength of its industry connections, WuXi hosted a Global Monoclonal Antibody Summit in conjunction with the ribbon-cutting. On hand were scientists, researchers and execs from Big Pharma, including Martin Mackay, president of R&D at WuXi partner AstraZeneca ($AZN).
The plant announcement comes on the heels of three recent high-profile biologics deals for the CRO. Last month, WuXi partnered with Open Monoclonal Technology to develop human antibodies using that company's OmniRat platform. WuXi also signed on with TaiMed Biologics to produce its ibalizumab HIV treatment, and inked a deal with AZ to develop MEDI5117, an arthritis drug.
The flurry of activity has bolstered WuXi's reputation as it looks to put past IP concerns behind it. Last year, a WuXi employee stole small quantities of investigational Merck ($MRK) drugs and flipped them on the Internet. The scientist has since been tried, convicted and sentenced, and WuXi maintains it was an isolated incident that doesn't reflect on what Li called the company's "culture of commitment to IP security."
In light of the CRO's recent dealmaking, it would seem the industry agrees, and Mackay said in a statement that WuXi has distinguished itself as an ideal outsourcing partner. "That's why collaborations such as our joint venture with WuXi AppTec are so important," Mackay said. "Our mutual ambition is to greatly increase the number of people who ultimately benefit from our medicines."
- read WuXi's release