Chinese drugmaker pours $145M into plant with plan to produce innovative biologics

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Changzhou Qianhong Bio-pharma has started construction of a ¥1 billion ($145 million) second phase to its manufacturing operation in the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District. (iStock )

A Chinese maker of heparin, APIs and some finished drugs is launching the second phase of its manufacturing plant, investing nearly $150 million as it moves into producing innovative biologic drugs for the Chinese market.

Changzhou Qianhong Bio-pharma, Tuesday announced it has started construction of the ¥1 billion ($145 million) project in the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District. It says when complete, the facility will add 200 million tablets and 60 million injections to its production, as well as making molecular diagnosis reagents.  

The company said the ¥1.2 billion ($175 million) first phase produced about $155,000 in revenue in 2017. Founded in 1971, the company says it is a major manufacturer of pancreatic kininogenase, heparin sodium and low molecular weight heparin, as well as compound digestive enzyme preparations and asparaginase used in treating some leukemia. It says some of its products are approved in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

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With the second phase of its production site, Qianhong will focus on R&D of innovative and first-of-its-class biologics for China, targeting cancers and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Some Chinese companies are stepping up their game as they find themselves increasingly competing with western drugmakers which are producing more meds in China after the country eased rules to allow data from trials that were not done in China.

In August, China put out a target list of 48 treatments that are approved abroad, including some of the industry's biggest names, in hopes of getting drugmakers to apply for Chinese approval based on foreign trial data. The list includes drugs like Roche and Chugai’s ALK cancer drug Alecensa, psoriasis therapies Taltz by Eli Lilly, Cosentyx from Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline’s shingles vaccine Shingrix.