Novartis commits 600 million yuan (US$84.6 million) to building a production site in Zhejiang province, China.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

December 7, 2023

2 Min Read
Novartis
Compass needle point the counrty China with several other countries in grey around it, focus on the blue word. Concept for business investment or travel destination.

Novartis says radiopharmaceuticals are a key strategic growth area for the Chinese government as it commits to building a production site in Zhejiang province. 

With a total investment exceeding 600 million yuan (US$84.6 million), this plant is second only to Novartis’ Beijing plant in Changping district, which was set up in 1987. The plant is expected to be operational by 2026. 

“This plant will focus on Radioligand therapies (RLT). Currently we are investigating a broad portfolio of Radioligand therapies, exploring new isotopes, ligands and combination therapies to look beyond gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) and prostate cancer and into breast, colon, lung and pancreatic cancer,” a spokesperson for Novartis told BioProcess Insider

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“We plan to hire local talents as well as leverage our global knowledge to operate the facility. It is premature to put exact number at this stage.” 

A radioligand is made of a radioisotope, which emits radiation that damages cells, and a targeted ligand — a molecule that binds to specific markers on cancer cells. The radioactive component has a very short half-life (i.e., the time it takes for the radioactivity to decrease by 50%). Once the radioactivity decays, it can no longer kill the cancer cells as effectively.  

With an aim to “accelerate the introduction of innovative RLT into the country,” this plant will benefit domestic cancer patients with critical needs.  

The planned capacity expansion will accelerate production, bolster upcoming pipeline developments, prepare for launches, and strengthen existing brand portfolios. 

“The radiopharmaceutical industry in China has become one of the key strategic emerging industries supported by the State. In recent years, the Government has issued policies to establish an overall framework for further development of the radiopharmaceutical industry and optimize the management system of radioactive drug review and approval,” the spokesperson said. 

“We chose the site location because Zhejiang Province has an excellent innovative medical ecosystem, as well as a favorable business environment. It also has unique advantages in developing nuclear technology, infrastructure and transportation location.”  

Novartis already manufactures radioligand therapies at sites in Ivrea, Italy; Zaragoza, Spain; and Milburn, New Jersey in the US. According to the firm, these sites have the capacity to meet the needs of patients across the globe. 

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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