AstraZeneca Launches $1 Billion Fund with CICC (with an AI Twist)

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The British biotech giant moves to expand its reach into China’s booming healthcare sector.

AstraZeneca, the British pharma giant, will launch a $1 billion fund with China International Capital Corporation (CICC).
The 10-figure fund will center on China’s booming healthcare sector. It also plans to expand its research pipeline in the world’s second-largest economy.

How Does Astrazeneca’s CICC Partnership Work?

According to Reuters, the fund will invest in Chinese companies in a life sciences park that it opened last year. The life sciences park is located in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi.

From there, the firm plans to expand its existing research pipeline in Shanghai. The firm expects to expand its employees based at its R&D center in Shanghai from 450 people to 1,000. It will also build a new artificial intelligence center in the city.

In a statement, the company offered some detail about the artificial intelligence center.

“A new AI Innovation Centre, also in Shanghai, will be established to capitalize on the latest digital technology in R&D, manufacturing, operations, and commercialization in order to accelerate the delivery of medicines to patients in China and globally,” its team wrote. “A dedicated group within the center will focus on collaboration with technology companies and local start-ups to develop innovative solutions for patients.”

The Company’s Role in China

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told Reuters that his firm is a minority partner in the fund. It did not disclose details of the investment. I also said that it will play an advisory role in selecting targets and which forms will receive capital.

It’s a substantial investment on our side, but also our financial partners,” Soriot said in the report.

China has been a solid market for the British drugmaker. The report goes on to state that the firm’s sales have doubled since 2012.

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