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BEIJING, Feb 12 (Reuters) - A unit of Bayer AG BAYG.DE will spend about 100 million euros ($129 million) over five years to build a research and development centre in Beijing, the company said on Thursday.
Bayer Schering Pharma, a division of Bayer HealthCare, will build the centre, becoming only the third country besides Germany and the U.S. to host a global R&D centre for Bayer Schering, it said in a statement.
China is the third largest market worldwide for the Bayer group. The new centre aims to include Asian patients earlier in global drug development, it said.
“Our goal is to build a world class organization here in Beijing that will lead drug development not only for China but also for other Asian countries,” said Kemal Malik, a Bayer Schering Pharma board member, in the statement.
China said last month it planned to spend about $124 billion on health care over the next three years, aiming to improve basic medical insurance, expand local-level clinics, improve the public health system and initiate pilot public hospital programmes.
Foreign health-care firms are seeking to fill a huge gap in China’s health care sector that leaves hundreds of millions of people with little or no coverage.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L), the world’s second-largest drug maker, said last year it planned to double its R&D staff in China to 350 people in the next few years, as China could become the world’s fifth-biggest pharmaceuticals market by 2010.
$=6.84 yuan=0.775 euro Reporting by Kirby Chien; Editing by Ken Wills