Gilead sets up shop in Chengdu with new operations center



US major Gilead Sciences Inc., (Nasdaq.GILD) is setting up an operational center in Chengdu, after signing a cooperation agreement with the Chengdu Hi-tech Zone, a state-backed industry park. The agreement will lead to the establishment of the Gilead Sciences Western China Operation Center, set to manage Gilead’s western China business and promote the development of the bioengineering and pharmaceutical industry in central and western China.

The deal means Gilead will be in close proximity to a recent new partner, after the US firm formed a drug discovery research collaboration with Chengdu-based HitGen Ltd, as reported by GBI in June this year. Gilead has been building strong market momentum with a string of six new drug approvals since the approval of hepatitis C wonder drug Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) in China in September 2017. Most recently, hepatitis B therapy Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide) was given the nod in May this year, after four approvals for hepatitis C therapies in 2018 including Harvoni (ledipasvir + sofosbuvir) and Epclusa (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir). The fourth-generation Vosevi (sofosbuvir, velpatasvir + voxilaprevir) was filed for approval in June.

Chengdu Hi-tech Zone is ranked as the sixth most competitive biomedical park in China according to national rankings, and is part of local efforts to establish a competitive bio-industry. That includes the Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, set up in 2016 and with 127 projects now under way and over RMB 100 billion in investments.

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