Novo plots $400M Chinese plant

In another confirmation of pharma's eastward gaze, Novo Nordisk is plowing $400 million into a new factory for diabetes treatments. The plant will produce insulin-based meds for China and other Asian markets. It will be Novo Nordisk's biggest-ever investment outside its home country of Denmark.

As you know, Big Pharma has been pinning new hopes on emerging markets like those in Asia. Growth in the U.S. is slowing, of course, so drugmakers are looking to the developing world as one source of new revenues. GlaxoSmithKline is looking to beef up its operations in China and India, for instance, and Merck's Indian subsidiary is staffing up in anticipation of a series of new product launches there.

Though China's economic engine looks to be shifting to a lower gear as well, its healthcare markets are still underserved. As Lars Rebien Sorensen, Novo's CEO, told the Financial Times, "For over a decade we have realized that the diabetes market in China would grow quickly and nothing in the recent financial crisis has really changed that."

- read the story in the FT