China's ShangPharma to build biologics plant in Qidong

With China's appetite for specialized biologic drugs increasing, both Western and Chinese drugmakers have been scrambling to build production to feed it. One China player just announced its plans for another biologics plant.

ShangPharma says it and the Qidong Biopharma Industrial zone will invest $60 million on a two-piece project that includes both a biologics manufacturing facility, as well as a preclinical research facility.

The plant will include a 500-liter, single-use mammalian cell culture train for clinical phase supply and two 2,000-liter trains for commercial manufacturing. The plant will also have fill-and-finish operations, the company said in a release. The plant, which will be operated by ShangPharma's China Gateway Biologics CMO division, is expected to begin operating in 2018. It said it existing biologics facility would continue to produce products while the new plant is being built.

"The investment offers China Gateway Biologics the opportunity to grow to the next level as a full biopharmaceutical service provider from preclinical development to commercial scale," ShangPharma CEO Michael Hui said in a statement. "We strongly believe the state-of-the-art, single use facility conforming to Western standards will be able to support our international client base."

In May, WuXi Biologics ($WX) said it has begun construction of a $150 million manufacturing facility for its biologics unit, which it says will be the largest biologics manufacturing facility of any kind in China.

But Western drugmakers are also building biologics facilities in the region. Novartis ($NVS) is building a $500 million biologic drug manufacturing plant alongside a traditional drugmaking facility in Singapore that is slated to be complete next year. In 2013, Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim said it would biologics plant in Pudong, Shanghai and offer contract manufacturing to the growing number of Chinese companies developing their own drugs.

- here's the release