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Novartis invests USD 700m in Singapore biotech facility

Novartis will invest USD 700m in a biotech facility to be built alongside its new solid dose plant in Singapore

Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis has revealed its will invest USD 700m in a biotech facility to be built alongside its new solid dose plant in Singapore.

The new facility will be a large-scale cell culture site to add to Novartis' biologics pipeline. The investment was revealed at the inauguration of Novartis' new USD 180m tablet manufacturing plant at the Tuas Biomedical Park in Singapore.

Construction of the new plant will begin in Q1 2008, with operations scheduled to start by 2012 following regulatory approvals.

The facility will support clinical and commercial production of novel biopharmaceutical therapies, but mostly monoclonal antibody treatments for oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal injury and asthma.

According to media reports, the USD 700m investment is the largest investment Novartis has made in a manufacturing facility, and emphasises the role biologics will have in bolstering the company's pipeline in the future.

Presently, biologics comprise 25 per cent of Novartis' preclinical research pipeline and, according to the company, are "increasingly a priority in research and development activities".

Novartis' Q3 FY07 results revealed the impact of generic price erosion has had on sales, so investing in biopharmaceuticals is one strategy to bolster the pipeline. The company is also establishing its biologics division as a separate, focused unit, in order to "accelerate and optimise the potential of research and development of innovative biologic medicines".

Novartis has its Asia-Pacific Headquarters located in the country, along with the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases and a production facility for its subsidiary, CIBA Vision.

30th September 2008

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