News Feature | March 10, 2014

Lilly and Novast To Expand Manufacturing Capabilities In China

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By Estel Grace Masangkay

Eli Lilly and partner Novast Laboratories announced they will expand manufacturing and development capabilities in Nantong, China. The planned expansion is part of the companies’ collaboration to develop a line of Lilly-branded generics.

Guohua Zhang, Novast’s president and CEO, stated “This day marks a new chapter for Novast as we are transitioning from commercializing quality prescription products in the United States to focusing on catering the same to the China domestic needs through the collaboration platform with Lilly.”

Lilly said it will spend $60 to $70 million in the construction of a new 260,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, which will be located within a 22-acre campus inside the Free Trade Zone of the Nantong Economic Technology Development Area (NETDA). The new plant will employ 350 people and will enable production of both sustained release and containment solid oral dosage prescription drugs. Lilly expects the plant to have an annual additional capacity of over 2.2 billion units.

Alfonso Zulueta, Lilly’s senior vice president and president of emerging markets, said in a statement, “In Lilly’s emerging markets business, we are focused on providing patients with innovative medicines from our own pipeline, as well as select Lilly-branded generic medicines that meet Lilly global quality standards. The additional manufacturing capabilities provided by Novast will allow us to better deliver on that strategy.”

The expanded plant will enable the manufacture of pellets and oncology containment solid dosage forms, Novast said in its website. It will also increase the capacity of hormonal product manufacturing.

“Novast currently manufactures its approved products in two independent facilities on a single campus with one dedicated facility manufacturing exclusively oral contraceptive and hormonal products and the other for conventional dosage form products,” the Chinese company said.

The companies signed a strategic partnership in 2012 focusing on generics, with Lilly agreeing to invest $20 million for a Lilly products manufacturing facility. Lilly CEO John Lechleiter also said at the time that the company expects to double sales in China after a 31% increase in 2011.

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