Domestic and international companies based in Shanghai are going full steam ahead to resume operations after the two-month disruption to business caused by COVID-related lockdowns. They have lined up new investments and novel products to indicate their confidence in China.
Laekna Therapeutics, a biotechnology company in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Pharmaceutical Valley, has completed dosing the first patients in the United States and China in a phase III clinical trial for breast cancer treatment, in spite of normal operations getting disrupted by the sudden COVID flare-ups in this spring.
This latest therapy is designed to tackle resistance occurrence in routine treatment. As such, team members had to overcome various kinds of difficulties from producing trial drugs to ensuring smooth logistics during the lockdown.
This is a clear demonstration of the company’s robust global clinical development capabilities, and the next step is to expedite the therapy’s simultaneous global development, said CEO Chris Lu.
“We hope to enhance cooperation with clinical research centers in Shanghai and see the acceleration of the enrollment and research process of new drug clinical trial projects of local innovative pharma companies. We are confident that we can catch up with some pending tasks after the two-month gap.”
Multinational pharmaceutical house AstraZeneca is also upbeat about its prospects in Shanghai. “With Shanghai as our China headquarters, we constantly increase our investments here … such as the Shanghai International Life Science Innovation Campus and the Medical Healthcare AI Innovation Center,” said Wang Lei, global executive vice-president of AstraZeneca and president of international business and China operations.
“We currently have 150 research and development projects in China’s R&D pipeline, and roughly 50 new drugs and new indications are expected to be approved in China in the next five years.”
Cosmetics giant L’Oreal Group is betting on a “fast and strong “rebound in consumer sentiment in China as was evidenced two years ago when COVID-19 first emerged, said Fabrice Megarbane, president of L’Oreal North Asia Zone and CEO of L’Oreal China.
“Against the background of our joint victory in the fight against the epidemic, our latest investment company in Shanghai firmly proves L’Oreal’s undoubted commitment to Shanghai and the Chinese market and the sincerity to co-create with industry partners in the ecosystem,” he said.
German science and technology powerhouse Merck also has its China headquarters in Shanghai. It announced on Tuesday to build its Advanced Semiconductor Integration Site in Zhangjiagang, marking the largest single investment project of the electronics business of Merck in China.
“China is … undoubtedly a ‘must win battle’ for Merck and our electronics business sector,” said Kai Beckmann, member of the executive board of Merck and CEO for the company’s electronics line of business.
Artificial intelligence company SenseTime began business resumption from the end of May. It has deployed a proprietary system called SenseThunder-Air that integrates seven functions from mask detection, temperature screening to the newly added antigen test result query function in response to Shanghai’s latest epidemic control requirements.