Merck accelerates biopharma innovation in China

By Kate Birch
Merck announces partnership with China’s leading pharma firm to strengthen the innovation capabilities of the healthcare industry in the Greater Bay A...

Two leading healthcare companies have teamed up to bring innovation and development to the healthcare industry in China. 

Leading German multinational science and technology company, Merck, has entered into a strategic partnership with Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited (GPHL), China's leading pharmaceutical company. 

The collaboration aims to explore the unique development opportunities for the biopharma industry in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area of China, and further boost the region’s innovation capabilities within the healthcare industry. 

Such a strategic alliance will “promote the future development of pharmaceutical retail and strengthen the biopharma innovation ecosystem in the Greater Bay Area”, says Rogier Janssens, Managing Director and General Manager of Merck's Healthcare Business in China. This, in turn, will bring “high-quality innovative drugs to more Chinese patients”.

Greater Bay Area key region for Merck in recent years

China is one of Merck’s most important strategic markets globally and has in recent years demonstrated “tremendous innovation potential of its healthcare space” with the dynamic and open Greater Bay Area in particular continuing to play a pioneering role in the development of China's biopharma industry. 

The region has a noticeable advantage in industrial agglomeration and a complete upstream and downstream industry chain and is especially well-regarded when it comes to the R&D, production and distribution of chemical medicine.

In recent years, Merck has attached great importance to its partnerships in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. At the end of 2019, the company launched its Guangdong Innovation Hub, focused on bringing solutions to market covering healthcare, life sciences, performance materials and other emerging scientific and technological areas. 

And during the 3rd China International Import Expo in 2020, the Merck China Innovation Center released its Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Innovation Ecosystem White Paper, investigating the potential for further planning, industrial integration, and innovation development in the region.

Lowdown on China’s largest pharma company – GPHL

Ranked as number one in the Top 100 list of Chinese pharmaceutical companies for the last nine consecutive years, GPHL’s aim is to “soon become one of the world’s top 500 biopharma and health companies”, according to Li Chuyuan, the Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of GPHL. 

Already well-established in the Greater Bay Area, with its international headquarters in Macau, the firm has multi-level partnerships throughout the region, including with Hong Kong University, University of Macau, Macau University of Science and Technology and Traditional Chinese Medicine Science and Technology Industrial Park of Co-operation between Guangdong and Macao (GMTCM Park), so as to further promote the integration of its medical and health industry and establish a benchmark for its future development.

In addition to its strengths in traditional industries such as proprietary Chinese medicines and herbs, chemical raw materials and preparations, GPHL is now developing a wider capacity for R&D and the manufacture of biological medicines and full suite of health products, and developing business logistics, distribution and healthcare services. 

“We will continue to invest in advanced R&D aimed at creating high-level, innovative drugs and health products, while promoting high-quality industrial development for the further benefit of humankind,” states Chuyuan. 

In recent years, in its efforts to globalise, GPHL has appeared alongside Global Fortune 500 companies at international conferences, and has established joint ventures with firms like Walgreens Boots Alliance, and strategic partnerships with multinationals like Pepsi and Takeda.


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