Novo Nordisk puts US$400m into China insulin plant


Novo Nordisk is to invest US400m (Euro 310m) in a new insulin production facility in China.

Novo Nordisk is to invest US400m (Euro 310m) in a new insulin production facility in China.

The plant in Tianjin has been designated Novo Nordisk's primary production base in the Asia Pacific region and will supply both China and export markets.

Novo Nordisk's first plant in Tianjin was built in 1996 and expanded twice in 2002 and 2005. The new plant will be built on a new 88,000 sq metres site next to the existing plant and is expected to be operational by 2012.

The investment, which is estimated to create 500 jobs, is claimed to be the company's largest investment in the company's history and the largest single investment outside Denmark.

"The new plant in Tianjin will become the world's most modern insulin formulation and filling plant and is yet another example of the increasingly important role China is playing in Novo Nordisk's global operations," said Lars Rebien Sorensen, president and chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk.

"With the new plant and our r&d centre in Beijing, we will have an even stronger platform for changing diabetes in China," says Ronald Frank Christie, president of Novo Nordisk China.

Diabetes is a growing problem in China, with nearly 40 million people in the country estimated to have diabetes, the second-highest number in any single country after India. An ageing population and the adoption of Western lifestyles with too little exercise and diets high in saturated fat mean that the problem will get worse. A clear sign is that 64 million Chinese have impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes.

Sign up for your free email newsletter

Major Novo Nordisk insulin products such as NovoMix 30 and NovoRapid will be formulated and filled in the plant. The company also plans to formulate and fill Novo Nordisk's long- acting modern insulin Levemir.