As big drugmakers in the U.S. and Europe cut staff, WuXi PharmaTech has been a major beneficiary.
A China-based drug-research company that provides scientists-for-hire to conduct R&D, WuXi is growing so fast that this year it expects to employ more chemists than Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker. In China, entry-level scientists make less than half what their American counterparts earn, and WuXi's scientists are often at the lower end of the expertise chain. Still, the company is carving out an ever-larger role. In the near term, WuXi is accelerating the development of blockbuster drugs for the likes of AstraZeneca, but it is poised to become big pharma's next competitor.