In a modern-day counterpart to Mao Zedong's program to modernize the Chinese economy, China's pharmaceutical industry is quietly taking its own Great Leap Forward -- as a major force in drug discovery and development, according to an article scheduled for the Feb. 4 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.
China already is an important source of active ingredients that large pharmaceutical companies in the United States and other countries use to make prescription and over-the-counter drugs. C&EN's cover story, by Senior Correspondent Jean-François Tremblay, notes that China is playing an increasingly important, yet mostly unrecognized role in drug discovery.
Companies based in China that undertake research projects on behalf of foreign companies have in the past three years beefed up their range of services. From Shanghai to Beijing, new companies are being launched with research capabilities that, in terms of the time it takes to produce results, exceed those of Western pharmaceutical companies.
A growing number of Chinese firms offer a full range of drug research and development services, including synthesis, process research and scale up, and animal testing, the article states. Within two years, the first drug to be mostly developed in China could begin human trials in the U.S., Tremblay says.
The growth in pharmaceutical services in China seems to be part of a major trend. "Last century, we saw the pharmaceutical industry move from Europe to the United States," C&EN quotes a manager at one drug discovery company. "Now, it's perhaps moving to China and India."
Article title: "China's Pharma Leaps into Discovery"
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