GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Sir Andrew Witty is accompanying the UK Prime Minister David Cameron on a high-profile trip to China, the country where the company has been hit by bribery scandals.

Sir Andrew (pictured) and Mr Cameron are forming part of a delegation of more than 100 business people and academics going to China to promote the UK. Also on the trip are health secretary Jeremy Hunt and David Willetts, responsible for universities and science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Sir Andrew's presence on the four-day trip is particularly interesting given GSK’s problems in the country. The company has been working with the Chinese authorities regarding the bribery cases and saw sales in the country sink 61% in the third quarter.

At the time of going to press, GSK had not confirmed whether Sir Andrew is likely to be visiting staff on the trip or if there are any plans to speak to the Chinese authorities about the corruption probes.

Ixico brain deal  

A number of initiatives are expected to be unveiled in the next few days and a UK-China healthcare strategic partnering has produced the first one. The UK brain health company Ixico has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing Union Medical and Pharmaceutical General Corp (UMP), the innovative arm of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Ixico and UMP plan to work together to deploy a neuroimaging informatics platform in China to support dementia diagnosis, to advance public understanding of dementia, and use imaging biomarkers "to enrich study populations to streamline the evaluation of new dementia treatments".

It is estimated that in China a significant majority of the dementia population remain undiagnosed and currently an estimated six-ten million people suffer from it, of which 60% of which have Alzheimer’s disease.