After clearing about $500 million in revenue last year, Chinese CRO giant WuXi PharmaTec ($WX) is expecting between 13% and 15% growth in 2013, counting on an increase in big-name partnerships and an expansion of the local drug market.
Last year, WuXi's laboratory services unit grew 22.9%, while manufacturing revenue increased 22.5%, and the CRO is expecting more of the same as its expanded offerings come online. In the last 12 months, WuXi has invested in new facilities across China and doubled down on its biologics capabilities. Those moves will help it continue to expand in 2013, CEO Ge Li said, as globalization pushes the market for innovative therapies.
"Healthcare spending will continue to grow globally because the world's patients will demand, and be willing to pay for, high-quality medical products and a better quality of life," Li said in a statement. "And our operational strength in China is important to capitalize on the rising demand by a large and rapidly growing Chinese middle class for the same treatments prescribed for Western patients."
WuXi's focus on expanding its offerings has only made it a more attractive option in China's developing market, and the CRO counts AstraZeneca ($AZN), Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX), PRA and MedImmune among its partners.
As Li said, the allure of China for Big Pharma goes beyond cost arbitrage and easy patient enrollment: Analysts expect China to become the world's largest drug market as early as 2020, and WuXi wants to be the ideal partner for big-name drugmakers looking for inroads into the country.
- read WuXi's full results