31 October 2012 | News | By BioSpectrum Bureau
Novartis to invest over $500 mn for new facility in Singapore
(L-R) - Mr Alexandre F Jetzer-Chung, senior advisor for government relations, Novartis; his Excellency Thomas Kupfer, Ambassador of Switzerland to Singapore; Mr Yeoh Keat Chuan, MD, EDB; Mr Juan Andres, head, global technical operations, pharma technical
Singapore: Novartis is investment over $500 million for a new state-of-the-art biotechnology production site in Singapore. The new facility will focus on drug substance manufacturing based on cell culture technology. It will be co-located with the pharmaceutical production site based in Tuas, Singapore.
According to the Economic Development Board of Singapore, this is the biggest investment in Singapore bioscience industry this year. In the future, Singapore is expected to be a technological competence center for both biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing at Novartis. The facility is expected to be fully operational by 2016.
"This investment further strengthens our strategy to establish key strategic sites based on technological competencies. Singapore will be strengthened through a new state-of-the-art facility for biotechnology which is a growing segment of our business," said Mr Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. "We have chosen Singapore as strategic supply point as it offers a wide range of advantages due to its strong local biomedical presence and knowledge, skilled labor as well as proximity to growth markets in Asia."
The investment decision underlines the long-term strategy of Novartis to establish a worldwide manufacturing network of technology centers of excellence. The groundbreaking for the new production site is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013 while the new facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016. The site will be designed to operate in a flexible manner to handle small and large scale volumes. It is planned to support both clinical and commercial production of potential new products that include monoclonal antibodies for use in helping patients with diseases in autoimmune, respiratory and oncology indications. The biologics pipeline currently accounts for 25 percent of the clinical pharmaceutical research pipeline with a trend for future growth.
Novartis has several operations in Singapore, including the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD), the Novartis Asia-Pacific head offices and two production facilities for Alcon as well as one pharmaceutical manufacturing site.