Frontage Laboratories has signed a US$50 million strategic collaboration agreement with China’s Yabao Pharmaceuticals Group, under which Frontage will supply pharmaceutical and regulatory development services to Yabao over a five-year period.

The US-based contract research, development and manufacturing organisation, which has a substantial presence in China, will develop sustained-release drug technologies for Yabao and provide clinical research support for the Chinese company’s efforts to develop 20 new products for the US and European Union markets.

The arrangement includes joint offices at Yabao and Frontage sites in China and the US, to strengthen co-operation between the two companies’ development and management teams.

The agreement came as Chinese president Hu Jintao visited the US, and Ren Wuxian, chairman of Yabao, said it “reflects the attention of both the US and Chinese governments to bilateral pharmaceutical technology cooperation”.

Frontage has made rapid headway in the Chinese market over recent years, establishing a subsidiary in Shanghai in 2006 – Frontage Laboratories (Shanghai) Co., Ltd) – as well as a clinical research centre in Zhengzhou in 2009.

The company is also completing construction of a state-of-the-art drug development operation in Beijing.