GE sets up in Istanbul in bid to capture a share of Turkish tech market

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Istanbul not Constantinople is home to GE's new training lab
Istanbul not Constantinople is home to GE's new training lab

Related tags Ge healthcare life Biotechnology Ge healthcare Ge

Turkey’s efforts to increase local biopharmaceutical production have prompted GE Healthcare Life Sciences to set up a biopharmaceutical technology training centre in Istanbul.

The laboratory – which is due to open next summer – will train academics and industrial customers to use GE Healthcare's technologies, which is a model the firm has used at sites in the UK, US, China  and Sweden.

The Istanbul centre will also allow GE to showcase its systems, which could prove to be a shrewd move if the Turkish pharmaceutical market continues to grow at the rate it has done in the past few years.

At present $12.5bn (€10.1bn) worth of drugs are sold in Turkey each year according to a March Deloitte report​ that ranked the country as the 6th​ largest market for pharmaceuticals in Europe and the 16th​ largest worldwide.

However, as yet the Turkish biopharmaceuticals market is relatively small. According to IMS Health data only $704m worth of biologics are sold in the country each year, none of which are made locally.

This reliance on imports is likely to change however as – in 2012 – the Turkish Government classified biologics, oncological drugs and blood products as “strategic investment areas."

The Government also set up incentives (law 6322​) to encourage firms to invest in manufacturing capacity.

The incentives – which apply to projects valued at more than TL20m ($8.9m) in the Aegean region in Western Turkey – include tax allowances, duty exemptions and VAT exceptions designed to ensure that the country produces 60% of the biopharmaceuticals is uses by 2023.

Myra Eskes, general manager of GE Healthcare Life Sciences in Turkey, told that: “Customers will have the opportunity to learn on GE’s flagship bioprocessing and research equipment.

"Naturally we would be delighted if that led to their favouring choosing GE equipment in purchasing decisions, but this lab is more about developing close partnerships and deepening our understanding of our local customers’ needs.​”

Eskes added that: "We will be able to exhibit our latest tools, and more importantly, give customers hands-on experience working with such leading-edge technologies​.”

This was echoed by Irem Yenice, biotechnology division manager for Turkish engineering firm Arven which is helping GE build the lab, who said it represents “an excellent commitment to Turkey’s biotechnology goals​” adding that it “could be an important support to growth and innovation​.”

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