ScinoPharm's $113 million China API plant is ready to go

Western drugmakers aren't the only ones building new plants in China. Taiwan's ScinoPharm has just finished up a $113 million facility to make active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for China, as well as for export to the U.S. and Europe.

In fact, the company claims the new facility is the first to be built in China to meet stricter requirements recently imposed by the China Food and Drug Administration. The facility was built on a 16-acre (6.5-hectare) site in Changshu, in the Jiangsu province. ScinoPharm has an agreement to buy an adjoining 108 acres (43.2 hectares) to expand its API manufacturing and add formulation manufacturing. The new facility also includes an R&D operation, the company said.

ScinoPharm said the new plant is able to manufacture high-potency, antitumor, hormonal-active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates in highly contained facilities, as well as other APIs. It says it has developed 9 of the top 20 oncological products used in China and that regulators there have approved four of its APIs.

The Taiwanese company last year kicked off a $37.6 million plant in Tainan, Taiwan, to manufacture high-potency cytotoxic compounds to be used in injectable cancer drugs. That facility was expected to be completed in 2014. One line will be dedicated to oncological production for both liquid and freeze-dried vials and another for noncytotoxic prefilled syringes.

Many U.S. and European companies are building manufacturing operations in China, a market that could become the world's largest within the decade. Last month, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit and Merck KGaA both announced plans to start in next year on new facilities there. Janssen is erecting a 267,000-square-meter plant that will cost between $200 million and $300 million. It will replace a Xi'an-based Janssen Pharmaceutical facility built in a joint venture by J&J and a Chinese partner in 1985. Merck will build an €80 million ($107.67 million) plant in Shanghai that will focus on production of diabetes drugs Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox, as well as drugs for thyroid conditions. Others companies have new facilities underway.

- here's the announcement