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Wuxi JV is about building in China's late-stage sector says PRA

By Gareth Macdonald , 15-Jan-2013

PRA wants to build its late-phase offering in China and has committed to provide staff and knowhow to Wuxi Pharmatech joint venture. 

Plans for the partnership were announced earlier this month with the perceived wisdom being that the deal was designed to expand both contract research organisations’ (CRO) presence in the country’s late-phase services sector.

This was confirmed by PRA Executive Vice President of Scientific and Medical Affairs Kent Thoelke, who told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: “Both companies desired to grow significantly in the space and become the leading late-stage CRO in China. 

The plan – according to Thoelke – is to couple Wuxi’s local expertise and bioanalytical laboratory capabilities with PRA’s experience of international late-stage trials in an effort to compete with established players in the Chinese market, such as Tigermed.

When combined with Wuxi’s position in China, PRA’s technical, scientific and medical expertise and clinical trial experience will provide a competitive edge over other local CROs.  The intention of the joint venture is to become one of the largest CROs in China within the next several years.”

We asked if PRA will be able to leverage Wuxi’s bioanalytical capabilities to cut what it charges for such services, to which Thoelke responded that: “These services will complement PRA’s established bioanalytical capabilities in the United States and Europe, and the costs will vary by region.”

Contribution

Outsourcing-pharma.com also wanted to know if PRA will be contributing any staff to the JV after some analysts – notably John Kreger from William Blair – suggested that Wuxi would be providing the lion’s share of the staff.

Thoelke told us that: “Both PRA and WuXi have contributed employees to the joint venture,” adding that PRA will be providing knowhow and technology to support the venture’s infrastructure to execute clinical trials in China. 

The joint venture will conduct all clinical trials in China on behalf of PRA for global trials that include Chinese sites, or China-only and domestic trials conducted by either Chinese firms or multinational companies.”

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