GSK to rely more on Asian R&D

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology Pharmaceutical industry

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has indicated it will rely more heavily on
Asian R&D in the future and has already been stepping up its
involvement in India and Singapore.

"Within the next five years we will have an Indian-led compound on the market,"​ Jackie Hunter told delegates at the recent Financial Times Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology conference in London.

GSK is among a growing number of international pharma giants, such as Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis and Novartis who now all have a direct clinical research presence in India. GSK also has its own biometrics units.

"Drug discovery and molecular optimisation is easy in India, and cost-effective,"​ said Hunter.

"Admittedly there are still areas of development that are difficult in India such as toxicology studies in animals such as dogs and monkeys."

In Singapore the company is also continuing to strengthen its ties, having announced in September it will invest S$62m (€31.3m) to establish its first pre-clinical research facility in the Asia Pacific, focusing on neurodegenerative diseases, to be located in Singapore's Biopolis.

The latest investment brings GSK's total investments in Singapore to over S$1bn after it already splashed out $190m (€151m) in June, in its largest Asian investment to date, for the construction of a new vaccine manufacturing plant, as several products in its pipeline approach commercialisation.

"We have also developed a biology centre in Singapore as an experiment. Giving our chemists access to biology is what they are always asking for in order to cut down drug discovery delays and this pilot programme will hopefully tell us if indeed this really does lead to an increase in productivity,"​ said Hunter.

"This experiment has been possible to achieve from Singapore because in this location we are effectively 'removed from the mothership.'"

Looking forward Hunter said the firm plans to continue its investment in Asia and keep on training its Asian-based scientists in medicinal and chemistry skills in order to push its productivity in the region even further.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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