IC as in BRIC

GlaxoSmithKline and Merck place big bets on India and China respectively

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BRENTFORD, UK—A new £85 million ($137 million)  manufacturing facility that will create 250 jobs in India is planned by pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as part of its continued commitment to ensuring access to medicines for people in the country.

During a visit to India today to take part in a conference of international business leaders, GSK Chief Executive Officer Sir Andrew Witty said the location of the new factory is yet to be finalized, but that the lead site is in Bangalore.

GSK will partner with local design and construction companies to build a state of the art plant which is expected to benefit from leading edge technologies including continuous manufacturing and automated systems.

Today's announcement is GSK's latest commitment to its manufacturing network in India where the company has invested about $160 million over the past decade. GSK is proactively building capacity in the country as it delivers its portfolio of products in areas such as gastroenterology and anti-inflammatory medicines. When complete the new factory will make pharmaceutical products for the Indian market at a rate of up eight billion tablets and one billion capsules a year. The facility, expected to be operational by 2017, will also include a warehouse, site infrastructure and utilities to support the manufacturing and packing of the medicines.

Around 8,500 people work in India for GSK. The company is a leader in dermatology and vaccines, with vaccines such as Rotarix against severe diarrhea, and Synflorix used to protect children against streptococcus pneumonia. In addition, GSK's consumer business continues to be a market leader with six billion cups of its best known product Horlicks consumed by over 30 million households every year.

Sir Andrew said: "GSK is a long-standing investor in India and we fully support the government in their efforts to increase access to affordable medicines and to improve healthcare. This new facility will substantially increase the capacity of our manufacturing base and enable us to bring more medicines to the people of India." GSK's currently has three factories in India for consumer healthcare products (located in Nabha, Sonepat, and Rajahmundry), one for vaccines packaging and one for pharmaceuticals, both located in Nashik.
Virtually simultaneously, Merck announced a EUR 80 million ($108 million) investment in a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility to be located in the Nantong Economical Technological Development Area (NETDA), in the Greater Shanghai region (Yangtze River Delta area).
"This further investment in China reflects Merck's long-term commitment to the country where our group has been present for 80 years," said Belén Garijo, president and CEO of Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. "We are proud to be one of the first multinational companies investing in a local site focused on the manufacturing of medicines referenced in China's essential drug list, and serve the country's expanding healthcare needs in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders, by bringing high-quality medicines made in China to a broader population, in full alignment with the Chinese government's goal to increase access to quality products."
The new facility will focus on the bulk production and packaging of Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox, Merck's leading brands for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders respectively. Located in NETDA's BioSpark, a high-tech industrial park designed to accommodate all aspects of the life science industry, the new facility will cover an area of 40,000 square meters, with a possible 20,000-square-meter extension. The construction of the site is scheduled to start in 2014 and start commercial production in 2017. The site will be designed to comply with the highest international quality standards, Merck Serono states. The preservation of the environment will also be a critical consideration in the facility's construction, with a maximization of resource efficiency and minimized waste generation during the manufacturing process.
"This new facility will become Merck Serono's second largest pharmaceutical manufacturing site in the world and will help ensure that our medicines will always be available to patients who rely on them, which is a key priority for Merck Serono," added Allan Gabor, general manager and managing director of Merck Serono in China. "With our research center, our development capabilities, our commercial presence and this new manufacturing facility, we are building for the future in China by investing across our value chain."
Merck has made significant investments in China over its 80-year history in the country. Over the past five years alone, Merck Serono investments have included a research center in Beijing, focused on biomarker research, including pharmacogenomics and bioanalytics; enhanced clinical development capabilities, covering over 400 key clinical study sites, which have recruited more than 10,000 patients across China; and an extensive network of collaborations with leading academic and medical institutions, as well as local companies; Merck Serono's latest collaborative agreement with a Chinese company, announced on Nov. 13, is a second co-development and commercialization agreement with BeiGene, which will further strengthen the two companies’ existing collaboration in oncology.
Recent investments for other divisions of the Merck group include the Merck Millipore Biopharmaceutical Technical and Training Centre and a soon to be opened liquid crystals manufacturing facility, both located in Shanghai.

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