AstraZeneca is to invest $200m (£127m) in a new Chinese factory as the drug maker ups its footprint in the country’s fast-growing pharmaceuticals market.
China’s pharmaceutical market has grown from $10bn to 2004 to $41bn in 2010 Photo: Alamy
By Rachel Cooper
5:48PM BST 10 Oct 2011
The site represents AstraZeneca’s largest investment in a single manufacturing facility globally. It will make both intravenous and oral solid medicines for the company’s China business and will help AstraZeneca meet growing demand for its products in the country.
With its burgeoning middle class and increasing government investment in improving healthcare, China’s pharmaceutical market has grown from $10bn to 2004 to $41bn in 2010 and, according to research group, IMS, is expected to grow to more than $100bn by 2015.
As a result, China is one of the most important battlegrounds for drug companies, which are facing pricing pressure and increased competition from cheaper generics in Western markets.
AstraZeneca itself is facing a steep “patent cliff”, as patents expire on some of its established brands, paving the way for generic rivals. Britain’s second-biggest drug maker has therefore focused on increasing sales in emerging markets, and aims to generate a quarter of its sales in these countries by 2014.
AstraZeneca first established a presence in China in 1993 and its sites include a manufacturing and supply facility at Wuxi in Jiangsu province and a research centre in Shanghai. Last year, AstraZeneca’s turnover in China was more than $1bn.
Mark Mallon, president of AstraZeneca China, said: “AstraZeneca has been putting down deep and broad roots in China for many years, which will be further strengthened by this $200m investment.
“Our new manufacturing facility will complement our efforts to meet the medical needs of Chinese patients with medicines that are locally produced.”
He added that the facility would also help AstraZeneca reach out to more of the estimated 900m people in urban and rural communities who have had less access to high-quality medicines.
Located in China Medical City in Taizhou in Jiangsu province, construction on the manufacturing facility is expected to be completed at the end of 2013.
Meanwhile, Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, the former editor of The Sunday Telegraph, will join Huawei’s advisory board as the Chinese telecoms giant prepares to expand aggressively in the UK. She will be joined by Brian McBride, a former managing director of Amazon.co.uk and T-Mobile’s UK operation; and Claudia Arney, a former director of Emap, who will help to develop Huawei’s presence in the valuable enterprise market and address “unjustified” fears over the company’s security and governance.