GlaxoSmithKline to shut down Shanghai R&D lab

By Nell Walker
Despite a former status as a hub of scientific innovation, GlaxoSmithKline is set to close its Shanghai R&D centre. The lab had been leading GSK...

Despite a former status as a hub of scientific innovation, GlaxoSmithKline is set to close its Shanghai R&D centre.

The lab had been leading GSK’s research in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. The company has stated:

“Following a portfolio review and prioritisation, we have decided to close our neuroscience R&D centre in Shanghai and move key programs to our global R&D hub in Upper Providence in the US, where they will benefit from colocation with other pipeline R&D programs.”

This news comes just a couple of weeks after the announcement that the business is selling its rare diseases business as part of its £1bn cost-cutting drive.

GSK began investing in China ten years ago, and had high hopes from the beginning that it would be a shining jewel of the business. A global leader in multiple sclerosis research, Jingwu Zang, led the centre but was fired in 2013 before a wider controversy hit. Eventually, 110 staff in China were fired due to ethical violations, and GSK was forced to pay $500mn to the Chinese government.

This series of events has led to this Shanghai closure, GlaxoSmithKline has said that despite the closure of this particular lab, business in China will continue:

“The China R&D development organization will continue to be based in Shanghai and is set to expand over the next two years to accelerate the development of new medicines,” the firm said. “We remain committed to China and will focus our R&D efforts in China on the needs of China, at both our Shanghai site and our Institute for Infectious Diseases & Public Health in Beijing.”

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