Pfizer built an R&D centre in 2010 in China, but it has nothing to do with the coronavirus

You have sent us an email stating that "Pfizer and Glaxo (GlaxoSmithKline) are one", together with a link to an article on a website announcing the construction of a Pfizer Research and Development (R&D) centre in Wuhan, China in 2009. This is FALSE. No, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are two different pharmaceutical companies, and there is no such claim in the article. 

"Pfizer built an R&D centre in Wuhan, China (2009)"

There have been rumours for months that GlaxoSmithKline owns the Wuhan Virology Laboratory, and also that GSK and Pfizer have some sort of relationship. Both claims are false, and in this article we explain that Pfizer and GSK's relationship is also fictitious, beyond the creation of a joint venture to produce over-the-counter medicines in 2018, as noted in an August 2019 press release

However, this does not mean that GSK owns Pfizer, which is in fact a publicly traded company whose major shareholders do not include this pharmaceutical company.

An R&D centre to expand in China

The announcement came in 2009, when Pfizer began its expansion in China, where it had been present since the 1980s. In addition to the Wuhan site, Pfizer expanded its facilities at another centre in Shanghai. 

The centre was built specifically at the Wuhan National Bioindustrial Base, also known as Biolake, in 2010, according to Pfizer’s blog. The post explains what the goals of this satellite R&D centre were, which was to boost the drugmaker's development in this area, with the goal of becoming a cutting-edge platform for global clinical drug development and strategic alliances. In other words, the Biolake facility represents an expansion of Pfizer's scientific presence in China and is part of Pfizer's overall strategy for global growth.

No link to coronavirus

Ten years after the centre was built, this commercial and strategic movement aimed at boosting the company's R&D area is seen by some websites as suspicious, as Wuhan was ground zero for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and Pfizer was one of the first pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine for covid-19, BNT162b2, together with BioNTech. In fact, Verificat and other member agencies of the International Fact-Checking Network have published numerous articles denying the link between pharmaceutical companies and the emergence and development of SARS-CoV-2. 

Although it is owned by Pfizer and located in Wuhan, this centre has little to do with the development of the covid-19 vaccine, which begins its production in a laboratory in Musuri (United States), and then travels to Massachusetts, Germany, and Michigan. In no case does it go through Wuhan. 

It has even been claimed that it was a virus created in a laboratory (known as the lab-leak theory), but there is a great deal of scientific evidence to suggest to international bodies studying the origin of the coronavirus that it is more plausible that the origin of the virus was natural, and occurred after the leap from animal to human.

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