Lundbeck manufacturing starts small in China

Lundbeck has opened its first manufacturing plant in China as it chases competitors that have beat it there with drugmaking facilities and joint ventures.

In an emailed statement, a Lundbeck spokesman acknowledged that the company's initial investment is modest and that the plant currently has only 9 employees, but indicated big plans. The plant is located in an industrial park in Tianjin, about 60 miles southeast of Beijing. He said it follows the company's 2010 investment in an R&D operation and the doubling of its sales force in China.

The Denmark-based company invested about €6 million ($9.5 million) in the plant, China's business publication MorningWhistle reports. The company expects to start production in the second quarter of next year with its Alzheimer's drug Ebixa.

Lundbeck, which has a specialty in central nervous system (CNS) drugs, predicted earlier this year that it would be a top producer in that category in China by 2016. "The factory in Tianjin will fill up the demand gap in China's treatment of Alzheimer's disease market," Herman Santoni, Lundbeck China president and GM, told reporters there. He said Lundbeck will launch three to 5 new drugs to treat Parkinson's, depression and alcohol dependency.

The Lundbeck spokesman pointed out that "Around 100 million people in China currently suffer from mental illness and it is estimated that almost 70% of patients with serious mental diseases do not receive effective treatment. As such, the Chinese market is of increasing importance to Lundbeck."

- here's the MorningWhistle story