Neopharma buys plant in Japan, will build one in the Middle East

United Arab Emirates-based drugmaker Neopharma is continuing expansion of its manufacturing footprint with plans to build a $100 million plant in Abu Dhabi just weeks after committing to spend more than twice that for manufacturing plant and development rights to a diabetes treatment in Japan.

Neopharma has acquired a second site in the Khalifa Industrial Zone where it already has a facility, B.R. Shetty told Gulf News. Shetty owns controlling interest in the company. Combined, the two facilities will occupy about 160,000 square meters (1.7 million square feet) of space.

The plans for expansion in Abu Dhabi follow the company's May announcement that it would pay Dhs880 million ($240 million) for a 65% stake in Japan’s Cosmo ALA (now known as Neo ALA) from Cosmo Energy. With that deal, it got rights to develop NatuALA, which it says is a dietary supplement to decrease glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Neopharma says it will spend about $140 million on clinical trials in hopes of getting approval for the drug in the U.S., Japan, U.K. and Bahrain. The investment included about $26 million in a plant in Japan to produce the drug if approved.