Academia, China, R&D

GSK attempts to remake itself in China with local ties

GlaxoSmithKline is ramping up its R&D efforts in China after a couple of tumultuous years in the country.

Min Li

Min Li

GSK’s China R&D General Manager Li Min told a recent forum that the company has heavily invested in neuroscience in China geared toward beefing up partnerships with local universities under a five-year project dubbed Neuro 2020, China Daily reported.

GSK has been in free fall in China after bribery charges forced the company to pay nearly $500 million in fines to resolve those charges. The company subsequently cut about 40 percent of its sales force China in 2015, and it announced that it would be overhauling the way sales reps in China are compensated.

The company’s Neuro 2020 initiative sought out partnerships with Chinese universities in the field of neuroscience. “You supply the concept. We supply the drug discovery expertise and access to our vast scientific resources,” the UK-based pharma said in its electronic RFP.

In March, GSK announced it was forming a new public health institute in Beijing to help China tackle antibiotic resistance and infectious diseases.  The Institute for Infectious Diseases and Public Health would align GSK’s R&D capabilities in infectious diseases with the country’s public health interests, GSK said.

In another remake, GSK announced in September that Emma Walmsley would succeed Andrew Witty as its CEO. The move marks the first time a woman has been named to lead a multinational pharma company. Walmsley was formerly the head of the company’s consumer business.

During its Q2 earnings call in July, GSK said the reshaping of its China business would see the company return to growth in China in the second half of the year.

During the call, Witty drew investors’ attention to China FDA approval of its HPV vaccine Cervarix. The company also divested itself of a number of products in China as part of that remake.

China’s pharma market is projected to grow about 6 percent to 9 percent over the next four years, according to IMS Health.

Li Min, GSK’s global head of neuro sciences and general manager of R&D in China, delivers a speech at Pujiang Innovation Forum [via]

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