Chinese Investors Purchase Washington Pharmaceutical Company

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by TARA DUANE
Yuan Yafei, Founder and Chairman of Sanpower Group (left), and Joseph C Papa, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Valeant Pharmaceuticals meet for a press conference regarding the selling of biotechnology company, Dendreon. [Image: Official LinkedIn account of Sanpower Group]

Sanpower Group, a Chinese corporation, is set to purchase Dendreon, a Seattle based biotechnology company. Dendreon was purchased by Valeant Pharmaceuticals in 2015 for approximately $300 million after it went bankrupt. Valeant has now closed a deal to sell the company for $820 million.

Dendreon’s product, Provenge, is a vaccine treatment for prostate cancer and is the only FDA approved treatment of its kind. Sanpower plans to increase sales of Provenge in the US and introduce it to China and Asia.

Chinese investment in the US has grown steadily since the late 1990’s. Over a 10 year period Chinese Investment into the US increased by 613%. By 2015 direct investment from China in the US reached $14.8 billion.

In 2016 alone, private Chinese investors brought  Washington State $222 million; $10 million of this was in Health and Biotechnology companies. Washington State offers tax incentives for research or technology investments in various technology categories including Health and Biotechnology industries. In 2014, 105,600 jobs in Washington State were supported by foreign owned companies.

China is also the number one foreign investor in US real-estate. Between 2010 and 2015, Chinese investors spent $93 billion on residential real estate in the US. The second most popular state for Chinese real-estate investment was Washington State, accounting for 8% of Chinese purchases. The most popular areas for Chinese real-estate purchases in Washington are Seattle and Bellevue areas. Congressional district nine encompasses both Seattle city and Bellevue and has a Chinese population of approximately 10,000. Washington State shares seven sister city relationships with China including one between Seattle and Chongqing.

The US and China have a strong recent history of science collaboration. Cooperation efforts have ranged from biomedical research and pharmaceutical manufacturing to water pollution research and funding, clean energy research, solar panel manufacturing partnerships, and joint science exchange programs.

Tara Duane is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at the University of Western Australia.