Firm will use $1 billion for a biomedical research institute and the rest for an API center.

Novartis is to plough $1 billion into the construction of a new Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research in Shanghai (CNIBR) and another $250 million into a global technical center for APIs in Changshu, China. 

The five-year Chinese investment plan will involve moving and expanding Novartis’ existing CNIBR, which is situated in Zhangjiang High-tech Park, to a new campus in Shanghai. Once completed, the new facility is expected to be Novartis’ third largest R&D center worldwide, behind its facility in Cambridge, MA, and headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Activities at the new CNIBR will span analytics and biomarkers, in vivo pharmacology, protein production, characterization and scale-up screening, chemistry and proteomics, along with genomics and imaging.  The facility will employ an estimated 1,000 R&D staff compared with the 160 R&D associates at the current CNIBR site.

The $250 million investment in a new global technical center for APIs in Changshu, meanwhile, will be used to establish complementary activities focused on technical R&D and manufacturing. By locating both activities at a single site, Novartis hopes to enhance API process development and operational efficiency.

The company believes its investments in China will extrapolate to new drugs for patients both in China and in other countries. “We are pleased to contribute to the Shanghai government’s aim to establish the city as the premiere R&D center for China’s bio-medicine industry by 2012,” comments Daniel Vasella, Ph.D., chairman and CEO.   

The Chinese government recently announced it will spend some $124 million over the next three years to bolster the nation’s health system, Novartis points out. The government also aims to make affordable, basic medical services available to its entire population by 2020. Novartis aims to support this health reform by sharing knowledge and best practices.

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