China is the fastest growing drug market among the emerging market countries, and drugmakers from around the world are hustling to expand there. Merck ($MRK) just opened a $120 million packaging plant there and now Japan's Eisai is set to build a new plant to make parenteral products that will be near one it already has in Suzhou, Jiangsu.
The Japanese drugmaker says the new 2,500-square-meter facility is aimed at tapping growing demand in China for products like its Methycobal, an injected drug for treating peripheral neuropathies. But Eisai is looking well beyond China for products coming out of the new facility. It says the plant will be large enough to produce products for other emerging markets in Asia and Central and South America, a design that is expected to keep unit costs lower. Construction is set to begin in the third quarter of this year and be done by the first half of fiscal 2014.
The plant is being built near another facility Eisai opened there in 1999. That plant makes solid-dose products and packages those and injectable drugs for the China market.
Merck this month started production at a 75,000-square-meter facility in Hangzhou, China, which will package drugs for the entire Asian market, while Sanofi ($SNY) recently announced it will open four plants in China this year and has started construction on another facility in Vietnam. Like those companies, Eisai is making a big push into emerging markets and recently said it will open up a sales and marketing office in Moscow to set the stage for a rollout next quarter of its breast cancer drug, Halaven.
- here's the announcement