AstraZeneca opens first manufacturing plant in the Middle East

By Susan Gotensparre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Middle east Astrazeneca

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has invested in a tablet
manufacturing plant in Egypt, which could form a launching pad for
an expansion into emerging markets.

The UK-based drug major AstraZeneca has built a 7,000-sq.m production plant near Cairo, Egypt, with production starting at the beginning of 2007.

Identifying Egypt as a key emerging market, AstraZeneca has kicked off a regional expansion strategy in the Middle East, doubling employment since 2004 to a total of a 350-strong workforce. The investment was facilitated by Egypt's adoption of WTO's "TRIPS" agreement on protecting intellectual property rights in 2005, with the Egyptian pharmaceutical market being worth $1.6 billion annually.

"This is a new era for AstraZeneca with our first manufacturing investment in the Middle East​," said David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca.

"This is a strong signal of our commitment to invest in the region and our confidence in Egypt which has seen good economic progress following the new government reforms​," said Brennan.

The $32 million factory will manufacture products in the areas of cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disorders and cancer. The three production lines at the new factory will initially have a capacity to manufacture 250 million tablets per year but it could be expanded to produce 400 million tablets per year.

On the equipment front, the Egyptian factory will have tablet granulators, fluid bed dryers and tablet pressers.

Up to 65 per cent of the Egyptian market is supplied by multinational companies, through direct local manufacturing (30 per cent) and through licensing agreements (35 per cent), according to AstraZeneca.

"We do look into what makes the most sense form a business prospective whether we outsource locally, regionally or internationally​," says Joan Pitt, AstraZeneca.

The Egyptian Health Minister Dr. Hatem Mostafa El-Gabaly opened the new AstraZeneca factory on the 11 December 2006.

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