WuXi, PRA snag ex-Theorem CEO to head China JV

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) and PRA believe they have a bright future in China together, and they've picked up the founding CEO of Theorem Clinical Research to lead them there.

James Pusey will serve as president and general manager of WuXiPRA, a joint venture launched at the start of the year to offer Phase I-IV clinical trial services in China's burgeoning market for drug research. Pusey served at Theorem from 2009 until this year, previously working as an exec at MDS Pharma Services, AstraZeneca ($AZN) and a joint venture between Pfizer ($PFE) and Serono.

"Under James' leadership, we believe WuXiPRA will become the clinical CRO of choice in China," WuXi CEO Ge Li said in a statement. "WuXi PharmaTech's local expertise and PRA's leading-edge global systems and processes will enable customers to conduct the highest-quality clinical trials in China quickly and successfully for Chinese and international regulatory filings."

Under the initial plan for WuXiPRA, WuXi will supply laboratory services to the JV through a preferred-provider arrangement, while PRA will pitch in information technology and the use of its global infrastructure for clinical trials, giving the company enough capacity at its onset to compete for a share of the growing demand for clinical trials in China, Hong Kong and Macau, the partners said.

And while there's no question pharma dollars are flowing into China, recent concerns over the efficacy of trial data gathered in the country could stand in the way as WuXi, PRA and a host of others line up to cash in.

Last week, the FDA revealed serious concerns about the results of a trial helmed by Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Pfizer and PPD that eventually delayed the approval of blockbuster hopeful Eliquis, and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) recently axed its head of Chinese R&D after allegations that the drugmaker falsified preclinical study data.

- read the joint announcement