Hisun-Pfizer workforce to more than double in size

In a very ambitious drive, Pfizer ($PFE) and its Chinese joint-venture partner Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical intend to more than double the size of the Hisun-Pfizer workforce by the end of the year.

The two say they intend to hire 600 new employees by year's end, Bloomberg reports, bringing the total for Hisun-Pfizer to about 1,000 employees by December. It intends to have nearly 1,500 employees by the end of 2013, the head of the JV tells the news service.

"We are trying to attract appropriate people for the positions," Hisun-Pfizer CEO Kevin Xiao tells Bloomberg. "So far, in the sales force, we have more Pfizer people, but in manufacturing, it's the other way around."

In a real test of the new world pharmaceutical hook-ups, Pfizer, the world's largest publicly-owned drugmaker, announced in February that it was creating a joint venture with the state-owned Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical. Zhejiang holds 51% of the stake and Pfizer 49%.

"These are two totally different companies--one state-owned, the other one a big multinational," Xiao said. "We need to balance the foreign and local culture, practice and mindset. That's a pretty big challenge for us."

So far the JV has a total investment of $295 million. It plans to make drugs for cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, oncology, and mental health treatments.

China is a growing market with tremendous potential, but a very tricky one to maneuver. Its growth is slowing and the country is looking for ways to provide as many high-quality drugs to its expanding population at costs that are affordable for patients and the government.

- read the Bloomberg story 
- here's the release

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