7:59 PM
May 04, 2018
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Thinking globally, acting locally

Why BeiGene’s Pfizer hire indicates the China market is ready for innovator drugs

BeiGene Ltd.’s hire of Pfizer Inc. veteran Xiaobing Wu is one of the loudest signals to date that regulatory and reimbursement reforms have made it attractive to develop and commercialize innovative drugs in China. Wu’s extensive network and market access expertise should help BeiGene make the most of the new opportunity.

Wu joins BeiGene as general manager of China and president, after serving since 2004 in a similar capacity at Pfizer, and before that at Wyeth, which Pfizer acquired in 2009. In his last position as country manager at Pfizer China and regional president of Pfizer Essential Health for greater China, he oversaw Pfizer’s operations and portfolio, and conducted projects and partnerships to facilitate patient access to medicines.

Under his watch, Pfizer became the number one multinational pharma in China by sales.

CEO John Oyler said Wu will guide BeiGene as it scales up in China, which it sees as an essential part of its strategy to grow into a global player. He said Wu was a rare find because he has experience running China operations across all of the drug development domains where BeiGene now plays: R&D, manufacturing and commercialization.

“Soup to nuts, he understands each part of that and how they fit together,” he said.

“This is a ringing endorsement of innovative medicines in China and the role that local pharmaceutical companies will play.”

Ian Woo, Lazard

Wu told BioCentury the move to a start-up from an established player offered a new set of challenges to tackle, and that BeiGene’s advanced portfolio and strong leadership team stood out among Chinese biotechs.

“They have international global vision and first class capability in research,” said Wu.

Lazard Managing Director Ian Woo said Wu’s move shows there are substantial opportunities for selling innovative drugs in China, and that locally grown assets can...

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