WuXi AppTec defends against 'blanket allegations' as US legislation casts shadow over certain Chinese drugmakers

As new legislation stands to threaten the U.S. business of certain Chinese biopharma companies, CDMO giant WuXi AppTec has stepped in to make a case for itself.

In an open letter signed by chairman and CEO Ge Li, Ph.D., and co-CEOs Minzhang Chen, Ph.D. and Steve Yang, Ph.D., the company pushed back on the “misguided” initiative recently put forward by the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. 

“We strongly object to blanket allegations and preemptive actions against our company without due process,” the execs wrote.

The CDMO says it's taking measures to correct the “unfounded and misleading claims” levied against it. Wuxi AppTec maintains confidence that “upon understanding the facts, U.S. lawmakers will understand that WuXi AppTec does not in any way pose a national security risk to any country.”

The bill, dubbed the BIOSECURE Act, looks to prevent certain “adversary biotech companies” from obtaining federal funding.

The proposed legislation specifically names CDMO giants WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics plus Chinese genomics companies BGI Group, MGI and Complete Genomics. The companies have ties to “a foreign adversary’s military, internal security forces, or intelligence agencies," according to the legislation.

WuXi Biologics was quick to defend itself as its stock price plummeted last week. In an announcement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the CDMO called the legislation’s description of its CEO Zhisheng Chen “misleading,” noting that the chief has not worked for any military-affiliated institution nor received compensation from such institutions. 

WuXi Biologics and WuXi AppTec are separate but associated “sister companies,” according to The Wall Street Journal.  

If passed, the legislation would halt the Chinese drugmakers’ contracts with federal agencies and prohibit future U.S. deals with companies that use their equipment or services. Meanwhile, similar legislation in the Senate has hit a delay, Reuters reported Friday.

WuXi AppTec’s Monday morning shares jumped 6.73% in response to the open letter.