Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced it will build an 863 million yuan (125.9 million U.S. dollars) innovation center in Shanghai's Pudong New Area. Set to open in 2019, it will be the company's third-largest strategic center after those in Switzerland and the United States.

The state-of-the-art innovation center is expected to boost the city's top-level medical research and development capabilities by becoming a dream workplace for pharmaceutical scientists, said Shen Hong, head of medicinal chemistry and head of external innovation at Roche Innovation Center Shanghai, Roche R&D Center (China) Ltd.

The center's focus will be developing antibiotics, as well as medicines to treat hepatitis B, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, Shen said.

Founded in 1994, Roche established the first Chinese joint venture in Pudong's Zhangjiang area - Shanghai Roche Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. It quickly formed a complete pharmaceutical value chain that includes research, development, manufacturing and sales.

Thanks to its 24 years of steady development in the country, Shanghai Roche generated 10.45 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars) in sales revenue in 2017, and the company had invested 6 billion yuan (875.5 million U.S. dollars) across the nation as of 2016.

Like Roche, 310 Fortune 500 companies have set up branches in Pudong over the past 28 years, and the area has attracted 79 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investment, said Weng Zuliang, secretary of Pudong New Area's Party committee.

Jennifer Goforth, chief engineer of GM China electrification in Shanghai, arrived in China in March 2017 with her family to lead a program designing electric vehicles specifically for the Chinese customer.

"We know Chinese customers' needs are very different from other regions', so every product we bring here is tailored for the Chinese customer."

The 1,210-square-kilometer area has attracted 615 corporate research institutes and 230 foreign funded R&D centers. The total number of registered foreign-invested enterprises in Pudong has reached 23,985, with 281 multinational corporations' regional headquarters, accounting for 45 percent of the total in Shanghai, Weng said.

The new China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, established in 2013 in the district, is encouraging more foreign enterprises to register there, and currently nearly half of Shanghai's foreign companies have set up their offices in the free trade zone, Weng said.


Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Gao Han