India’s Biocon has been working for six years on a massive, $250 million facility to manufacture insulin in Malaysia and says it will soon produce commercial product there.
Biocon Chair Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw made the announcement during an investor call following its earnings release, the Economic Times reports, citing PTI. She said the plant will start making Biocon’s rh-insulin and insulin analogs for the local market and then move into producing product for export.
“Our facility in Malaysia will be commercialized in the H2 of the current fiscal," Mazumdar-Shaw said.
Biocon says the plant in Nusajaya, which was certified by authorities this year, has 400 employees and represents the largest foreign investment made in Malaysia’s biotech sector to date. It also is Biocon’s first overseas biopharma manufacturing and research facility.
Biocon began the project in 2010, in part because of infrastructure issues in India that had not been addressed during an economic downturn. Mazumdar-Shaw said at the time that she took the project to Malaysia because the company couldn’t be certain of having the power and water needs of a new plant met in India.
Today’s announcement came as Biocon reported significantly higher revenues, up 21% in the Q2 for fiscal 2017 to 992 crore ($148 million), the company reported. Biocon reported improvements in small molecule sales and biologics, but it is in biosimilars where it is drawing lots of attention these days.
In late August, Biocon and partner Mylan reported that the European Medicines Agency had accepted their marketing application for the biosimilar version of Roche's blockbuster breast cancer drug Herceptin. That put them ahead of rivals there, including Celltrion, Pfizer's Hospira subsidiary and Samsung Bioepis. They are already selling a version in India.
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