GE ships ready-made drug factories from Berlin to Beijing
As drug-makers attempt to move up the value chain to manufacture sophisticated new medicines in China, General Electric Co. wants to sell them factories: right off the shelf.
GE shipped its first pre-made bio-pharmaceutical factory from Germany to China in September. The building made its way to a bio-technology zone in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, bundled in 62 containers, travelling along the Rhine and Yangtze rivers and going by sea in between. In China, the factory was assembled and built in 11 days.
The idea is to help pharma companies gain a head start in China as they navigate a lengthy approval process for new drugs. GE says the pre-made factories help them cut costs and timing by about half when compared with traditional facilities. As health-care costs soar, there’s rising demand in China for cheaper access to more complex drugs called biologics and their more affordable generic cousins, called biosimilars.
Because these medicines usually contain live ingredients, the manufacturing process is also more complex. GE’s factories were developed after consultation with officials at China’s food and drug administration, and that could help during the audit process, said Olivier Loeillot, GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ Asia general manager.
“It’s one single manufacturing concept that we can replicate around the world,” said Loeillot.
Photo by Jeff Turner, via Flickr