Boehringer Ingelheim wins first client for China biologics plan

BI corporate headquarters in Germany

While other drugmakers were building plants in China to make their own medications, Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim saw an opportunity to build one to cater to Chinese companies working on cell-based products. Boehringer now has its first client.

The German drugmaker said under a pilot program in China, it will manufacture immuno-oncology drugs for Beijing-based BeiGene, once the €35 million ($44.9 million) plant is operational in Q1 2017, Manufacturing Chemist reports. The Shanghai plant is slated to have about 65 employees.

Steven Zhang, a spokesman for Boehringer Ingelheim China, said that under a new authorization system Chinese drugmakers turn to contract manufacturing if they choose not to handle that part of the process themselves.

"Contract manufacturing will therefore help separate drug marketing authorization holders from drug production enterprises and significantly contribute to the industry's growth," he said.

Boehringer in 2013 partnered with Zhangjiang Biotech & Pharmaceutical Base Development Company (ZJ Base) in Pudong, Shanghai, to build the plant. The companies at the time said ZJ Base would provide Boehringer with all the local knowledge needed to get a plant built in China, while Boehringer had the know-how in biologics manufacturing.

BeiGene last year said it intended to build a 9,000-square-meter (96,875-square-foot) manufacturing facility of its own to produce clinical supplies. That facility is being built at BioBAY in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) in Suzhou, China, about an hour from Shanghai.

- read the Manufacturing Chemist story