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AstraZeneca investing heavily in high-tech district

(China Daily)Updated: 2020-11-30


Clockwise from top: Visitors try their hand at an intelligent rehabilitation system at AstraZeneca's China Healthcare Internet of Things Innovation Center in the Wuxi National Hi-Tech District. The center is equipped with a chronic respiratory disease data management system. AstraZeneca is commissioned to build the Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Park, or the I-Campus. [Photo/China Daily]

Global pharmaceutical companies attracted to area of innovation

The Wuxi National Hi-Tech District, also known as the WND in East China's Jiangsu province is a beacon of economic development in Wuxi and is pursuing technological innovation.

The biomedical industry has grown into an engine for the development of the district, which is also widely known for its booming internet of things businesses.

The industry's output value has increased steadily for several years in the district. In 2019, its output value surpassed 53 billion yuan ($7.9 billion), placing the district among China's top 20 biomedical industrial parks.

In April, the district's government rolled out a three-year plan to guide the development of the biomedical industry, saying it will strive to attract 300 related enterprises, cultivate five listed enterprises, and help to raise the industrial output value to exceed 100 billion yuan by 2022.

The WND will provide strong support to biomedical enterprises looking to set up operations there, local officials said. A total of 500 million yuan is given out each year to provide enterprises with rental support, financing discounts and talent subsidies, according to the three-year plan.

Big names in the global life science industry have eyed new opportunities in the WND for several years.

The district is now home to more than 150 leading biomedical enterprises, including AstraZeneca, WuXi AppTec, Dizal Pharmaceutical, and Jemincare Group.

AstraZeneca, a global biopharmaceuticals producer, chose the district when it first entered the Chinese market in 1993.

To date, the total investment of the British-Swedish biopharmaceuticals group in Wuxi has exceeded $300 million. It has topped Wuxi's tax list for two years, paying nearly 3.5 billion yuan in taxes in 2019.

In 2001, AstraZeneca invested $134 million to establish its Wuxi supply base, that now serves to develop and supply drugs for 75 countries and regions around the world.

In 2017, the company opened its China Healthcare Internet of Things Innovation Center in the WND to explore innovative IoT-based integrated diagnoses and treatment solutions.

So far, the company's smart healthcare achievements have been widely adopted in more than 1,400 hospitals in China and many programs have been introduced abroad.

In one initiative alone, over 700 pediatric nebulization rooms were established in countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and cancer screening programs were extended to 11 countries.

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