Kazakhstan government plans to build biologics plant

A number of drugmakers have targeted the central Asian country of Kazakhstan as a good arena in which to expand and now the government says it will get into the game as well.

Kazinform, Kazakhstan's national news agency, said the Science Fund of Kazakhstan of the Education Ministry will finance a biologics plant to make vaccines against influenza, poliomyelitis and brucellosis, as well as veterinary drugs. Few details were provided but the plant will be built at the Scientific Research Institute for Biological Safety in its largest city, Almaty. Kuatzhan Ualiyev, chairman of the fund, said the plant would be designed to produce up to 10 million doses a year. 

The country has been actively recruiting drug companies as part of President Nursultan Nazarbayev's plan to drive domestic drug production to 50% in an effort to create jobs and to keep healthcare costs in hand. It is not unlike what Russia is doing but in that case the country has indicated that if Western companies want to sell drugs there, they need to start producing them there.

Companies see potential in Kazakhstan. The Financial Times says Prague-based Favea Europe in October signed an agreement with Romat, a large Kazakh company. Romat will invest about €37 million ($49.3 million) in two plants as part of that deal. Turkey's Abdi Ibrahim Global Pharm struck a deal with Alma Pharma and the two will build a $60 million factory in the country. In 2011, Poland's Polpharma bought Chimpharm, the largest domestic producer in Kazakhstan in an $85 million deal. A new manufacturing facility was part of that acquisition. Big Pharma also is taking note. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) last year opened an office in the country with the intent of eventually manufacturing some of its vaccines there.

- read the Kazinform item
- get more from the Financial Times