WuXi AppTec to Expand Facilities and Hire in San Diego

View of downtown San Diego from the water

WuXi AppTec, headquartered in Shanghai, China, plans to expand its facilities in San Diego.

WuXi AppTec describes itself as “a leading global pharmaceutical and medical device open-access capability and technology platform company.” That would seem to be a contract research organization (CRO) by a rather complicated name. Its broad services include small molecule drug research and development, cell therapy and gene therapy R&D and manufacturing, drug R&D and medical device testing. It claims to be enabling more than 3,000 collaborators from more than 30 countries.

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The company reportedly raised $1 billion from its initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The original filing was for $354 million, but in its first four months as a public company, the shares almost quadrupled. At its peak, the valuation was $13.1 billion. A year ago, Wuxi Biologics also had an IPO and as of September 2018, had a valuation of $13.4 billion.

At its San Diego site, the company plans to establish a center of excellence in screening, discovery biology, pharmacology, and small molecule process R&D, which will also include Phase I GMP manufacturing.

“Having a leading global organization like WuXi significantly invest in San Diego highlights the value of international partnerships, the county’s place on the Pacific Rim and our region’s long-standing support of the life sciences community,” stated San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “I especially applaud the company’s vision that ‘every drug can be made, and every disease can be treated.’”

WuXi AppTec has 27 locations globally, with 1,700 employees in the U.S.

Most recently, on November 16, the company announced its Laboratory Testing Division’s new Medical Device Testing Center opened in Suzhou, China. That expanded its medical device testing capabilities in the Chinese market, which collaborates with its existing U.S.-based medical device testing centers in St. Paul, Minnesota and Atlanta, Georgia.

The Suzhou facilities in 15,000 square meters. The company noted that via the transfer of its capabilities, operations and quality management system from its U.S.-based centers, the new center will be able to provide comprehensive medical device testing that is in compliance with international quality standards. Those services include biomaterials analysis, toxicology, biocompatibility, risk assessment, product aseptic design microbiology, physical testing of packaging and shelf life, product batch release testing and others.

In the San Diego area, the company indicated it will “add extensively from the local talent base,” although specific jobs numbers were not released.

WuXi began operating in San Diego in 2016 by way of its Shanghai SynTheAll Pharmaceutical (STA) subsidiary. It began providing process R&D and API manufacturing services for early-stage clinical trials.

“This expansion will enable us to better serve our U.S. and global customers, and contribute to the growth and success of the dynamic San Diego biotech ecosystem,” stated Ge Li, WuXi AppTec’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Together with our ecosystem partners, we will continue to strengthen WuXi’s capability and technology enabling platform to expedite the discovery and development of new medicines for patients worldwide, and for a future where every drug can be made and every disease can be treated.”

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