Biocon to build new plant in Vizag, India

Biocon intends to build a new facility in Vizag, India, for manufacturing insulin products. It is a turnabout for the Indian company, which went to Malaysia with its first insulin facility, in part, over concerns India was falling behind in providing dependable infrastructure to the pharma industry.

Biocon CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

The Andhra Pradesh government announced the plan after Biocon CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw met with Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu last week, The Statesman reported. It said that the project would get started in the next 6 months. Seema Ahuja, head of corporate communications, in an email Monday confirmed the plan but offered no specifics. "Biocon has been planning to set up a bio-manufacturing facility at Pharma-city SEZ in Vizag. No more specific details can be provided at this stage," she said.

Mazumdar-Shaw acknowledged last year that her company had gone to Malaysia with a $200 million project in 2010 because of the infrastructure issues India faced. "We don't have enough power. We don't have enough water," she told Reuters. "So some of these projects where we need water and power, I will do it in Malaysia because that's where it is abundant."

But during a trip to Paris in October for the CPhI meeting, Mazumdar-Shaw discussed her company's plan to roll out a number of biosimilar products and the manufacturing expansion that would be required over the next few years to make that happen. She said then that she is encouraged by what the new Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, is saying about manufacturing and believes there will be support in infrastructure and legislation that will make India the right choice for a new facility, and maybe more.

Biocon and partner Mylan ($MYL) this year released biosimilars of Roche's ($RHHBY) cancer med Herceptin. Biocon is manufacturing both of their versions at its biologics plant in Bangalore. But to have the capacity to meet the global demand for biosimilars, Mazumdar-Shaw said Biocon intends "to increase capacity several-fold" in the next three years.

- here's the Statesman story