AbbVie enters Asian manufacturing with a $320-million site in Singapore

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Facility will produce both biologics and small molecules

Calling it “Asia’s fastest-growing bio-cluster,” the North Chicago, IL, firm has selected Singapore for a new $320-million facility, expected to be fully operational in 2019. For those who track employment and capital-investment trends, it’s worth noting that the facility will employ 250 when it opens—representing $1.28 million in capital per job.

AbbVie’s press release notes that the company will be producing both biologics and small molecules at the site, but most of the release focuses on the company’s and Singapore’s emphasis on biotechnology. “This investment is a testament of Singapore's strong biologics manufacturing capabilities,” boasted Kevin Lai, director, biomedical sciences of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

AbbVie’s biggest commercial product currently is Humira (adalimumab) for rheumatoid arthritis. The company’s Asian investment might be, in part, banking on approval of its fixed-dose, interferon-free combination product for hepatitis C, for which it expects FDA approval in the near future. The company’s presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference last month noted that Japan is the world’s second-largest market for hepatitis C treatment.

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