NanoCarrier, OEP building drugmaking plant in Taiwan

In yet another drugmaking venture in Taiwan, Japan-based NanoCarrier and Taiwan's Orient Europharma are expanding their partnership by jointly building a new manufacturing plant in the Republic of China.

The two are working on a new cancer drug, Nanoplatin. They will invest about NT$700 million ($24 million) to build the plant in the Central Taiwan Science Park-Huwui Park. Construction is set to begin this year and be completed in 2016. The facility is expected to employ about 50. The two companies said they will initially begin trials of Nanoplatin in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Australia this year but intend for the drug to be sold globally and for the plant to be FDA-approved. They are projecting peak sales of $500 million.

There is a lot of action in the pharmaceutical industry in Asia but much of it is from Western countries trying to tap the growing middle classes there. Countries like Japan, China and Taiwan are trying to build their domestic industries so they don't have to rely entirely on importing drugs and to capture some of the jobs associated with drugmaking.

This project has been supported by the Republic of China government, which is looking to see drugmaking expanded in the country. OrientEuropharma President Peter Tsai said the project was helped along by the Industrial Development Bureau's "Taiwan-Japan Industrial Collaboration Bridging Project," which encourages collaboration between the two countries on drug research and development.

Taiwan recently has had other projects to laud. In July, Taiwan's ScinoPharm said it planned to build a $37 million manufacturing plant in Taiwan. Last month,Taiwan's TOT Biopharm recently opened in mainland China the first phase of what it says is a $100 million plant for developing and manufacturing cancer drugs. The factory complex is in eastern China's Suzhou Industrial Park. The company said the project has been supported by both countries. The 50,000-square-meter facility will specialize in producing liposomal technology-based specialty drugs and biologics.

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