Novartis to start construction of new biotechnology facility in Singapore

Novartis announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art biotechnology production site in Singapore with an investment valued at over USD 500 million. The new facility will focus on drug substance manufacturing based on cell culture technology. It will be co-located with the pharmaceutical production site based in Tuas, Singapore. In the future, Singapore is expected to be a technological competence center for both biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing at Novartis.

“This investment further strengthens our strategy to establish key strategic sites based on technological competencies. Singapore will be strengthened through a new state-of-the-art facility for biotechnology which is a growing segment of our business”, said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. “We have chosen Singapore as strategic supply point as it offers a wide range of advantages due to its strong local biomedical presence and knowledge, skilled labor as well as proximity to growth markets in Asia.”

The investment decision underlines the long-term strategy of Novartis to establish a worldwide manufacturing network of technology centers of excellence. The groundbreaking for the new production site is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013 while the new facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016. The site will be designed to operate in a flexible manner to handle small and large scale volumes. It is planned to support both clinical and commercial production of potential new products that include monoclonal antibodies for use in helping patients with diseases in autoimmune, respiratory and oncology indications. The biologics pipeline currently accounts for 25% of the clinical pharmaceutical research pipeline with a trend for future growth.

Biologics are an important component of the current Novartis product portfolio including Lucentis® (ranibizumab), the only anti-VEGF therapy licensed for wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema (DME), and visual impairment due to macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Lucentis is developed in collaboration with Genentech/Roche, which holds the rights to market the product in the US and reached sales outside of the US of over USD 2 billion in 2012. Furthermore, Xolair® (omalizumab) is a first-in-class anti-IgE antibody approved in more than 90 countries for the treatment of persistent allergic asthma. This gained blockbuster status in 2011 when annual global sales reached USD 1 billion (including US sales booked by Genentech/Roche). Novartis co-promotes Xolair with Genentech/Roche in the US.

Novartis has several operations in Singapore, including the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD), the Novartis Asia-Pacific head offices and two production facilities for Alcon as well as one pharmaceutical manufacturing site.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group’s continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 127,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.