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Chinese biopharma companies set down roots in Boston area

2016-11-13 18:51:57 hit:

Kendall Squared brings you dispatches from the world’s epicenter for biotechnology and drug discovery.

American and European biopharma companies have been eyeing China as a market for their drugs for years. Now, some Chinese companies are eyeing the West — as a prime target for making deals and forging partnerships.

Those Chinese companies are beginning to pop up in Kendall Square, and across the biotech hub of greater Boston.

WuXi AppTec, which runs studies and designs clinical trials for biopharma customers, opened an office in Kendall Square a year ago. Drug maker Simcere Pharmaceutical Group unveiled its Boston office in December. And there’s a life sciences and biomedical center in the works at an office park for Chinese companies now in development in Marlborough, Mass.

The influx of Chinese firms reflects several trends, analysts and company executives say: The Chinese biopharma industry has matured to the point where companies can think about setting up offshoots abroad. They have a desire to be closer to their American partners. They’re on the lookout for deals. And they are eager to tap into the world’s largest pharmaceutical market at a time when their previously red-hot domestic economy has shown signs of slowing.

“It’s part of the evolution of companies and where they are in terms of their revenue cycle,” said Fabio La Mola, a senior principal in the Singapore office of IMS Consulting Group, a global health care consultancy.

As with the rest of the company’s 10,000 employees around the world, the dozen or so people working in WuXi’s office in Kendall aren’t hunting for drug candidates or moving their own molecules through preclinical tests. The company launched in 2000 with a mission to perform other companies’ bench chemistry experiments.

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