West Pharmaceutical Services has earmarked $30m (€22.3m) to expand and improve its plant in Jurong in the west of the country, which manufactures stoppers for injection and lyophilisation, plungers for disposable and pre-filled syringes, metal seals for secondary closure systems and other medical device components. The upgrades to the plant are due to be complete by 2010, and will result in a 30 per cent increase in the company's Singapore production. The investment will add water processing systems and clean room processes, as well as equipment to improve efficiency, quality and safety. The site already manufactures up to several billion units annually depending on the product range, and the added capacity will significantly increase this output. West has numerous production facilities located all over Europe and North America, but specifically targeted its one manufacturing plant in Asia for the cash injection as part of plans to ramp up production capacity. "There is an increasing demand for pharmaceuticals with the improvement in healthcare and increasing middle class consumers in Asia," Lum Kwong Toh of West's Singapore division told in-PharmaTechnologist.com. "Global manufacturers are setting up facilities in Asia and local manufacturers are increasingly becoming GMP [good manufacturing practice] compliant. All these manufacturers seek the support of a reliable supplier of quality pharmaceutical closures." West is actively increasing its presence in Asia in order to partner with pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturers looking to make the most of the growing local market, as well as serving other global customers. According to West, it is the only manufacturer of its kind in Singapore, giving it an edge in a region that is becoming increasingly popular with manufacturers, particularly those beginning to focus more on biopharmaceutical products. Many biological and vaccine products that companies in the region are developing are delivered in liquid formulations, and with West able to supply the key components for injectable drug delivery systems and pre-filled syringes, the company looks set to take advantage of the booming biopharma business in the area. Becoming renowned as the destination of choice for cost-effective, quality manufacturing options, the list of firms setting up in Singapore is steadily growing. With biological products also coming to the forefront in the pharma industry, companies establishing production plants in the region are increasingly opting to base their biopharmaceutical manufacturing in the area. West's current customers in the region include Baxter, BD and Schering Plough, but many other big names have also invested in Singapore including GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Lonza, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. As well as those firms with bases within Singapore itself, West's Singapore site also supports manufacturers in China, India and Australia naming major firms such as GE Healthcare, Ranbaxy and Hospira on its client list. However, the company is pursuing ambitious expansion plans at present, and intends to establish a manufacturing presence in China due to come on line in 2009. This $30m investment in Singapore represents only part of West's forecast $130m to be spent on expanding production capacity over 2007, with other projects at sites in Germany, Serbia and the UK set to increase molding production and tooling capacity.