Clover Biopharmaceuticals sets up a new R&D center in a buzzy Chinese hub near Shanghai
Business in China is booming, with more than a thousand biotech and biopharma companies — including some big multinational players — flocking to Zhangjiang Pharma Valley to take advantage of a growing talent pool in Shanghai.
Clover Biopharmaceuticals is the latest, announcing on Wednesday that it has begun construction on a new R&D center in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park. The Chinese biotech (which also has a corporate office in Boston) promises a state-of-the-art facility with new preclinical research labs, manufacturing process development labs, and a GMP pilot manufacturing plant.
In total, the company has just under 270,000 square feet (about 25,000 square meters) to work with. Currently, Clover has an R&D hub about 1,200 miles away in Chengdu.
“Establishing a new R&D Center in Shanghai will allow us to expand our R&D capabilities and accelerate our innovative pipeline,” CEO Joshua Liang said in a statement. “In the future, we plan to establish additional R&D centers around the world as we advance the discovery and development of new innovative product candidates.”
Construction of the new R&D facilities is expected to be completed next quarter, and the entire R&D center is expected to be done in the second half of the year. Clover said it plans on recruiting “hundreds of new hires from the area’s deep talent pool.”
Clover was an early entrant in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, developed using its Trimer-Tag tech platform. Early on, it partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to test its pandemic adjuvant system. Then back in February, it decided to go with an adjuvant from Dynavax instead. The company has been awarded just under $400 million from CEPI to develop its shot — and back in September, it announced a 79% efficacy rate against the Delta variant and a 67% efficacy rate against Covid-19 overall.
On Wednesday, Clover began dosing patients in the ongoing Phase II/III Spectra trial with a homologous booster shot.
Whereas establishing a presence in China was once a bold concept, a slate of Big Pharma companies began setting up shop overseas in the last several years — including Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Roche, J&J, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis — often in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai.
“The Zhangjiang Pharma Valley is one of the top biotech hubs in China and is home to over 1,000 innovative biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies,” Clover said.