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Leon Wang: Let China be China. The next phase in AZ’s China R&D strategy

A conversation with Leon Wang, head of AZ China, on AZ, China, R&D and digital health

Leon Wang believes that AstraZeneca has a chance to succeed at R&D in China because its global headquarters has learned to loosen the reins on its satellite premises. A multinational asking locals to carry out experiments at the behest of distant executives, giving the scientists no ownership or chance to call the shots, is not a recipe for success. Flipping that equation is, according to Wang.

Wang is EVP, international region and China president of AstraZeneca plc (LSE:AZN; NYSE:AZN). On Nov. 6, the pharma announced the latest stage in its China strategy--the creation of two new centers, one for R&D and one for AI, that will be based in Shanghai.

AZ simultaneously announced the launch of the Healthcare Industrial Fund with China International Capital Corp. Ltd. (CICC). One of the fund’s goals is to support companies based at AZ’s International Life Science Innovation Campus (I·Campus) in the city of Wuxi, an initiative launched with the city’s government in September.

Wang sat down with BioCentury to discuss his vision for AZ, and what multinational corporations will need to do to chart a successful R&D path in China.

AZ is one of several MNCs that have whipsawed on opening and closing R&D centers in China as they seek to plant sustainable roots and tap the country’s rich source of scientists as well as patients. The latest wave, which gathered steam this year,

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