PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY REVIEW
Singapore Sings With New Projects
Globally, it would be hard to find a location with more new, concentrated pharmaceutical industry investment than the city-state of Singapore. The biomedical sciences industry drew more than $520 million in new investment during 2004 with more than 1,900 jobs promised. Several of the industry's heavyweights announced or completed major projects recently.
Pfizer Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., opened a $350-million manufacturing facility there in July 2004. The 22-acre (nine-hectare) plant at Tuas Biomedical Park is fully automated and will manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
GlaxoSmithKline is investing $37.9 million to establish the region's first pre-clinical research for neurodegenerative diseases in Singapore's Biopolis, the city-state's biomedical sciences R&D hub. The facility comes fast on the heels of a $61-million project by the company to expand its production facility in Singapore.
Novartis is also investing heavily in new and existing Singapore installations. The Switzerland-based company opened the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in the Biopolis in July 2004. The Institute focuses on advanced biomedical research for neglected diseases. Initial targets are dengue fever and drug-resistant tuberculosis. The NITD is a public-private partnership between Novartis and the Singapore Economic Development Board. The Institute's goals are to have at least two compounds in clinical trials by 2008.
Novartis also has announced plans to build a new $190-million pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. The facility at the Tuas Biomedical Park will focus on the bulk production of the anti-hypertension drug Diovan, the abdominal discomfort treatment drug Zelnorm and a new cancer drug Gleevec. Novartis expects to employ more than 150 when the facility is fully operational in 2008.
"The region's healthcare needs are expected to grow rapidly in coming years, with China set to become the largest healthcare market by 2020 and India becoming the world's most populous country in less than 10 years," said Dr. Andreas Rummelt, head of Novartis Pharma Technical Operations.
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