Malaysia's CCM Duopharma Biotech adds plants to compete better

A Malaysian drugmaker has bulked up its manufacturing capacity as it faces drugmakers from other countries building plants there to grab a piece of a market that is seeing the kind of growth hard to come by in other parts of the world.

After several years of working on a deal, CCM Duopharma Biotech has bought 6 manufacturing units from its parent company, Chemical Company of Malaysia, for 245.1 million Malaysian ringgit ($66.3 million). The company says with completion of the deal, which has been several years in the making, CCMD became Malaysia's largest domestic drugmaker.

"The acquisition would give us greater manufacturing capacity and flexibility to cater to the growing demand for generic medicines, allowing us to bid for larger contracts," CCMD CEO Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar said in a statement.

With generous tax laws, incentives and a location ideal for servicing Southeast Asia, Malaysia is drawing new plants from manufacturers looking to expand in those markets. Drugmakers from India, which sits just across the Bay of Bengal from Malaysia, have been particularly aggressive there. Cipla Medpro, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Biocon and Ranbaxy Laboratories all have plants in the country.

Actavis ($ACT), which is now Allergan after completing the buyout of that company, picked up a plant there from a unit of Strides Arcolab in 2012. But Strides likes the market enough that late last year, it announced a subsidiary had begun construction of a $60 million biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Nusajaya. The 140,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in the next two years and have about 180 employees. The company has said that it will be designed with "next-generation" single-use bioprocessing technology with both mammalian and microbial capabilities.

- here's the announcement