AstraZeneca has entered into a strategic joint venture with the Chinese Future Industry Investment Fund (FIIF) to form an equally-owned, stand-alone company in China.

The new company, which is called Dizal Pharmaceutical, will work on the discovery, development and commercialisation of potential new medicines to help meet unmet needs globally, and to bring innovative new medicines to patients in China faster.

The firm, which incorporates all scientific and technical capabilities of AZ’ Innovation Center China (ICC), holds exclusive rights to three potential medicines currently in preclinical development from the drug giant’s pipeline, and is also expected to initiate its own novel clinical programmes.

“AstraZeneca has a long-standing and strong commitment to China, which we are reinforcing today with this ground-breaking joint venture. By joining forces with the FIIF, we aim to accelerate the local discovery and development of innovative, affordable medicines for patients in China and around the world,” noted Pascal Soriot, AZ’ chief executive.

Dr Xiaolin Zhang, previously Head of AstraZeneca’s ICC, has been named as Dizal’s chief executive. The FIIF will contribute funding and expertise in establishing strategic partnerships in China.