Novartis investing $1B in China R&D ops

Novartis plans to pump a billion dollars into its R&D operations in China over the next five years, expanding its scientific ranks in the Asian economic powerhouse from 160 to 1,000 as the pharma giant constructs a new research complex designed to rival centers in Europe and the U.S.

The pharma giant is expanding its Institute for BioMedical Research in Shanghai and will invest $250 million to build a global technical center--for research and manufacturing--in Changshu. Once its plans are completed, Novartis will have the largest biopharma R&D operation in China. Like other pharma companies, Novartis is investing heavily in China to position itself in a market that is expected to grow by leaps and bounds. At the same time, the move is part of the growing trend to offshore research work in order to cut costs. Novartis wants to rely more on Chinese scientists, who typically require only a fraction of the salaries demanded in Europe and the U.S.

"We are confident that our expanded investment in R&D will result in innovative therapies for patients in China and other countries nurtured by the growing scientific excellence in China," said chief executive Daniel Vasella. "You have to ask yourself where do you need to be down the road, and clearly it is here."

- read the Novartis release
- here's the story from the AFP