New Russian company to build $85M plant

30 July 2013

Eric Palmer, FiercePharmaManufacturing

NovaMedica was formed out of Domain Associates' partnership with RUSNANO.

Investment group Domain Associates likes pharma and biotech investing. Pharma and biotech like Russian investment. By extension, that has led Domain Associates to help finance an $85 million manufacturing facility in Russia.

The plant is for NovaMedica, a Russian pharmaceutical company created last year when Domain and the government-run investment firm RUSNANO agreed to jointly invest about $760 million in emerging life science companies, NovaMedica spokeswoman Elena Pochesneva said in an email. RUSNANO was created by the government to help it develop high-tech industries.

Construction is slated to begin late this year, and the plant is expected to employ about 100 when up and running. It is being built on a 50,000-square-meter lot in Kaluga, where it is getting support from the Government of Kaluga Region and the Administrative Board of the City of Kaluga. It will be built to FDA standards.

NovaMedica does not have any approved products but says it is negotiating for the licensing rights to a number of drugs and products being developed by European and U.S. pharma and medical device companies, including other companies that Domain supports. On Monday, NovaMedica inked a commercial supply-and-distribution deal with ReVision Optics for its Raindrop Near Vision microscopic hydrogel inlay. ReVision is one of Domain's investments. Pochesneva said NovaMedica is targeting products in ophthalmology, oncology, gastroenterology, pediatrics and women's health. She said the plant will start with sterile injectable drugs.

Russia is one of the hot emerging markets for many established drugmakers, but President Vladimir Putin has been adamant that they won't get access for nothing. He intends to build up Russia's capabilities to develop and manufacture its own drug supply and has pushed foreign companies to build plants and transfer technology if they want to sell products there. NovaMedica is part of Russia's strategy to build out its domestic drug and device manufacturing industry.

Many of the big players have heeded Putin's call and are building facilities there. Japan's Takeda opened a plant in September 2012, and Novartis ($NVS), Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) and others have manufacturing facilities in the works. Sanofi ($SNY) recently started ramping up production at a plant it acquired control of in 2010 from a Polish company, and Novo Nordisk ($NVO) started last year on a $100 million insulin cartridge plant in the Kaluga region.

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