Short items

DSM expects strong China sales growth

Despite the economic slowdown, Dutch chemical giant DSM is on track to reach a 2010 annual China sales target of US$1.5 billion, and might exceed 20 per cent sales growth this year in the country, according to its China head Jiang Weiming, speaking at a Reuters China Summit on 7 November.  

Producing goods ranging from vitamins and chemicals to materials used in cars, mobile phones and computers, DSM achieved 2007 China sales of $956 million, accounting for about 9 per cent of the company’s global sales of €8.76 billion ($11.2 billion).   

Jiang says that China’s economic growth rate is expected to reduce, but growth should still be 8 per cent for the coming year, so that the company has opportunities to expand.  

Separately, the Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk announced on 10 November a major investment close to $400 million in a new insulin production plant in Tianjin, northern China. 

WuXi PharmaTech allied with Pfizer 

Shanghai-based WuXi PharmaTech, the largest pharmaceutical contract research organisation (CRO) in China, announced on 7 November that it has signed a new three-year, in vitro ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) collaboration agreement with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.  

Evaluating ADME properties is a key step in the drug discovery and development process.  

Under the new deal, whose volume was not revealed, WuXi PharmaTech will establish ADME assays to provide in vitro screening services on compounds the CRO synthesises for Pfizer, so that Pfizer scientists can work on the pharmacokinetic properties of these compounds. 

Led by WuXi PharmaTech, which was listed in the New York Stock Exchange in 2006, China’s CROs have achieved remarkable growth. According to a report released by the consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers in August, China’s pharmaceutical contract research market will be worth US$260 million in 2008 and grow to US$430 million in 2010. 

AQSIQ establishes chemical safety centre 

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), China’s governmental watchdog for the quality of foods and commodities, announced on 10 November it had established a chemical safety research centre for imports and exports. Concentrating AQSIQ’s chemical research resources, the centre will establish a database on chemical safety standards in different countries, study changing chemical safety policies and develop measures for Chinese goods to cope with external standards, and perform toxicology tests.  

AQSIQ has been shamed for failing to reveal melamine contamination in milk (Chemistry World  , November 2008, pC3), leading to the resignation of former head Li Changjiang. Internationally, many Chinese exports are found to have dangerous level of chemical ingredients before the problem is detected inside China. The centre will promote chemical safety information flow, enhance chemical risk analysis, and study the impacts of chemical products on the environment.