Eisai turns to PharmStandard for manufacturing in Russia

A worker at PharmStandard's Ufa plant--Courtesy of PharmStandard

Despite a stumbling economy in recent years, Russia still holds a lot of appeal as an emerging market for drugmakers. Japan's Eisai is planning a major move into the Russian market and to handle its production has decided to turn to a local player.

The company announced Wednesday that it has contracted with Russia's PharmStandard to manufacture three of its meds, oncology drugs Halaven and Lenvima and epilepsy med Fycompa. Eisai said the deal calls for PharmStandard to manufacture the cancer meds at its facilities in Ufa, and the seizure product at its plant in Kursk.

"We are pleased to partner with Eisai, one of the worldwide leaders in oncology and epilepsy, to expand the reach of their therapies and address patient needs in Russia," PharmStandard CEO Grigory Potapov said in a release.

Russian authorities have made it clear that they will favor those outside drugmakers who manufacture their products within Russia. Some companies are opening plants there, while others are doing like Eisai and turning to Russian manufacturers.

Novo Nordisk ($NVO) last year started production at an insulin plant it built in Technopark Grabtsevo, in the Kaluga region of Russia and in October, AstraZeneca ($AZN) opened a $224 million facility in Kaluga about 90 miles outside of Moscow. Commercial production will start this year and the U.K. drugmaker expects it to be fully operational in 2017. On the other hand, Russian news service Tass reported in January that Pfizer ($PFE) was working a deal with domestic producer Polysan to handle some of Pfizer's manufacturing in Russia.

- read the release