Korean drugmaker buys large Vietnamese plant

Vietnam flag
South Korea's JW Pharmaceutical has bought Vietnam's Euvipharm, getting a 35,000-square-meter plant where it will produce its own drugs as well as do contract manufacturing. (Pixabay)

South Korea’s JW Pharmaceutical has a plan to target emerging markets and has started by snapping up a plant in Vietnam once owned by Valeant.

The Seoul-based drugmaker has acquired Euvipharm, getting a 35,000-square-meter manufacturing facility in the deal, Korea Biomedical Review reports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

"This acquisition has enabled us to secure a large-scale plant with advanced technology and modern equipment in the emerging manufacturing powerhouse of Vietnam," JW Pharmaceutical CEO Shin Yeong-seop said in a statement reported by Korea Biomedical. "We will try to spread the JW brand in the global market, starting with Vietnam."

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The plant, reportedly the largest in Vietnam, can produce up to 1.9 billion units a year. It is approved by the World Health Organization. In addition to using the facility in the Hoa District in Long An province as a base to export to other Asian countries, JW intends to use it for contract manufacturing. 

Valeant, now Bausch Health, acquired the facility in 2013 during its expansion frenzy but listed (PDF) it in 2017 among assets it was divesting during its debt reduction turmoil. 

Vietnam is becoming attractive to Western drugmakers. Earlier this year, Pfizer announced a deal with Medochemie to manufacture some of Pfizer’s drugs in the country, including some injectables. Cyprus-based Medochemie has three manufacturing sites in Vietnam. 

Last year, Hikma bought Medlac Pharma Italy, a Vietnamese injectables manufacturing company established a decade ago as a Vietnamese and Italian joint venture. The acquisition included an injectables facility in Hanoi and nearly two dozen drugs.