Novartis starts work on Russian manufacturing plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Russia, Novartis

Novartis has started work on a manufacturing plant in St Petersburg in the first stage of a $500m investment in the Russian pharmaceutical industry.

The facility, which is being built under an agreement the Swiss drugmaker signed with city authorities late last year​, is expected to create 350 new jobs and manufacture 1.5bn ‘units’ a year when fully operational in 2014.

In a press statement Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said: “The establishment of the new Novartis manufacturing facility demonstrates our commitment to invest in the Russian healthcare infrastructure and to contribute to the long-term goals of improving healthcare in Russia, set by the government​.”

Valentina Matvienko, Governor of St. Petersburg agreed, adding that: "Novartis’ decision to launch drug production in Saint-Petersburg is an outstanding example of a successful collaboration between Russia and foreign investors in the high-technology and innovation sphere, creating new job opportunities for local talent.”

Novartis is one of a number of major drug industry players to have responded to the ‘goals’ set by the government in the 2020 plan it unveiled in December last year, which called for 50 per cent of all drugs, and 90 per cent of “vital medicines,” sold in the country to be made in Russia.

At the time Russian PM Vladimir Putin called for international drug makers wanted to sell medicines in the country to invest in local manufacturing capacity or risk facing “restrictions” on their activities in the market.

Novartis’ big pharma peers like AstraZeneca​, GlaxoSmithKline​(GSK) and generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical industries have already set out plans for Russian investment.

More recently​ primary pharmaceutical packaging maker Schott has begun operations at a new production facility in Zavolzhe, near Nizhny Novgorod, as a key part of its growth strategy in the country.

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