AstraZeneca unit and WuXi in China joint venture

AstraZeneca's MedImmune in China joint venture to develop inflammatory disease drug

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- AstraZeneca PLC's MedImmune unit is joining with a Chinese pharmaceutical outsourcing company to develop an experimental treatment for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, deepening the British drug developer's presence in the world's second-largest economy.

AstraZeneca is forming the joint venture with WuXi PharmaTech Inc., the companies said Monday.

"When undertaking clinical trial development in China, the government requires local manufacture of medicines that have not been approved in other markets," the companies said. WuXi will handle manufacturing and provide support in the regulatory process.

The companies said they will have equal ownership of the joint venture. AstraZeneca will have an option to acquire full commercial rights to the drug, designated MEDI5117 in China. If it does not exercise that right, the joint venture will market the product.

WuXi will get revenue based on its services for the joint venture and MedImmune will get milestone payments as development of the drug progresses.

U.S.-traded shares of Wuxi rose 18 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $14.03 in afternoon trading, while AstraZeneca's U.S. stock slipped 11 cents to $46.68.

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