China's Kelun Pharma opens $50M Kazakhstan plant for intravenous oncology drugs

China has a penchant for doing business in places that few companies in other countries have heard of, much less engaged with. In the pharmaceutical sector, one of China's latest ventures is a just-opened $50 million production plant in Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata), just across the border in Kazakhstan. Kelun Pharmaceutical first entered the Kazakhstan market in 2003 as a distributor of intravenous products but is now considered the nation's largest producer of them. The second production line not yet in operation is dedicated to intravenous cancer drugs, and plans are to add a third production line next year. Kelun Kazpharm executives told China's state-run Xinhua news agency the plant is responsible for 70% of the Kazakhstan market for intravenous medicines and relies on technology, including robots, that is so new, some of it is not yet available even in China. The company said the plant meets European Union standards, but its products still need to be approved by Kazakhstan's regulatory system. To date, 30 specifications of 10 types of intravenous products have been cleared. The plant employs 300, mainly Kazakhs, and expects to add another 200 once the cancer product line is operational. The subsidiary's sales director said the company's goal is to have a monopoly on the Kazakh intravenous industry by the end of next year. Report