Gaithersburg, Md.-based MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, and WuXi AppTec, a development outsourcing company, announced they have formed a joint venture to develop and commercialize in China MEDI5117. The biologic is aimed at autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
AstraZeneca has manufacturing and administrative operations in northern Delaware.
MedImmune will provide technical and development expertise, while WuXi AppTec will provide local regulatory, manufacturing, pre-clinical and clinical trial support. When clinical trials take place in in China, the government requires local manufacturing of medicines not approved in other markets.
“We are pleased to partner with WuXi AppTec, a company with strong leadership in the Chinese pharmaceutical R&D sector, to help us address the healthcare needs of Chinese patients through the co-development of MEDI5117,” said Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, Research & Development, MedImmune. “This strategic partnership will enable us to establish a leadership presence in developing novel biologics in China, complementing AstraZeneca’s investment in this important emerging market.”
The joint venture will control the development of MEDI5117 for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in China. The two companies will have equal ownership in the joint venture. AstraZeneca / MedImmune will have the option to acquire the full rights to commercialize MEDI5117. Otherwise, the joint venture will have the right to commercialize the product. WuXi AppTec will earn revenue based on services provided to the joint venture. MedImmune will receive various milestone payments as the program progresses.
Tthe announcement supports AstraZeneca’s ongoing commitment to collaboration in Asia.
The Chinese pharmaceutical market grew from $10 billion in 2004 to $41 billion in 2010 and, according to IMS Health, is projected to grow to over $100 billion by 2014.