The Germany-headquartered pharma company plans to invest €35m ($46m) and will partner Zhangjiang Biotech & Pharmaceutical Base Development Company in building a cGMP plant to offer a range of development and clinical services to both Chinese and multi-national customers
“China is in its infancy stage with regards to the production of affordable high-quality structure-complex biological drugs such as antibodies,” spokesman Steven Zhang told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “A great deal of processing elements await significant improvements, which might make foreign companies think twice before setting up facilities in China.”
He added that the site in Pudong, Shanghai - which is is scheduled to commence operations in 2016 and will create 65 new jobs. - will be the first facility utilising mammalian cell culture technology established by a foreign biopharma manufacturer.
According to the R&D Based Pharmaceutical Association Committee - a division of China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment - the current Chinese biopharmaceutical market is worth 18bn RMB ($2.9bn) and will continue to grow.
Local CMO Wuxi capitalised on such demand when it opened what it said was China’s first EU and US GMP biologics facility last October, partnering with MedImmune – AstraZeneca’s biologics unit – in a joint venture to develop autoimmune disorder treatment MEDI5117.
However, unlike the Wuxi venture, this deal - described as “a win-win cooperative venture” by Zhang - will bring Boehringer’s biological services and capital investment together with “powerful government support” from Zhangjiang. Furthermore, both companies spoke of the benefits the deal could have to the Chinese biopharma industry as a whole.
Zhang said: “Through the co-operation, Boehringer Ingelheim is set to introduce the most advanced biopharmaceuticals technology and top-notch talents into China to help elevate the domestic manufacturing standard, train high-caliber professionals and provide better quality medicines for Chinese patients.”
Zhangjiang's General Manager, Lanzhong Wang, said a CMO manufacturing framework would be implemented at the plant on a trial basis, adding: “This will provide an effective platform for middle and small-sized companies to industrialize their innovations. Thus, it will greatly prompt the development of China’s biopharmaceuticals manufacturing industry.”