Glenmark to build $100M plant in North America

Glenmark has more than a dozen manufacturing plants around the world, recently opening a mAb manufacturing facility in Switzerland to feed its pipeline of monoclonal antibodies and biosimilars. But the Indian generics maker does not have a plant in North America and figures it is time.

"The U.S. is a key market for Glenmark, and it's important to have a manufacturing base here to serve its growing business," a Glenmark official told The Times of India. He said the company would be deciding soon on a site for the investment, which sources tell the newspaper could run to about $100 million.

Sujay Shetty, who heads the pharma group for PwC India, says that with FDA citations raising concerns about the quality of drugs made in India, some drugmakers from there figure that setting up plants in North America is a good bet right now.

"Due to quality issues, more domestic companies are trying to de-risk strategy by looking at setting up facilities close to the U.S. soil, in Canada and Mexico," Shetty said. "Now, with technological advances and other government incentives, the cost of manufacturing in the U.S., particularly injectables, has also reduced, which is a big draw for these companies."

Sujay Shetty

The FDA bans of Indian plants operated by Ranbaxy Laboratories, Wockhardt, Sun Pharmaceutical, Apotex and others in the last several years have given India's generic drug business a black eye. Some doctors and lawmakers have begun to question the country's reliance on Indian-made drugs, which make up about 40% of the generics and over-the-counter products sold in the U.S. The Indian drug industry contends that the issues are not serious and has launched a public relations campaign to attempt to counter the bad publicity.

The U.S. is the world's largest pharma market, and so no drugmaker wants to face any kind of resistance to sales there. According to the The Times of India, Glenmark's U.S. business amounts to about $65 billion a year. The company has 14 manufacturing facilities in India, Brazil, Argentina and the Czech Republic.

- read the Times of India story