US National Security Panel examining purchase of pharmaceutical firm by Chinese investors

WASHINGTON – US national security officials are reviewing the 2017 acquisition of a South Carolina pharmaceutical company by Chinese investors after learning that the company was in talks to participate in a Pentagon project to develop injection devices for a vaccine against the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the subject.

The Foreign Investment Committee in the US investigation into the acquisition of Ritedose Corp. of Columbia, SC, was also referenced in a statement by the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency, which previously awarded Ritedose a five-year contract to support daily purchases of pharmaceutical products for the government.

“At the time of the grant, Ritedose certified that the drug offered was manufactured in Columbia, South Carolina,” said a DLA spokesman, adding that the certification met DLA’s compliance criteria for the grant. “DLA is currently reviewing the contract due to Cfius consultations,” he said.

The spokesman later added that he did not intend the reference to serve as further confirmation of the panel’s investigation.

Ritedose was acquired by Hong Kong-based private equity fund AGIC Capital and Chinese pharmaceutical company Humanwell Healthcare (Group) Co. three years ago.