Bayer planning joint venture to make drugs in Russia

pharmafile | October 12, 2011 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Bayer, pharma manufacturing news 

Germany’s Bayer AG has joined a number of its peers in the pharmaceutical industry with the signing of an agreement that could see it set up additional manufacturing capacity in Russia.

The chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Russian company called Yunona Holdings, which is based in Yekaterinburg and represents the Ural Pharmaceutical Cluster (UPC) in the Sverdlovsk region of the country.

The UPC was established to develop, produce and sell medicines and medical equipment and is a “high-tech complex of interconnected production and infrastructure facilities”, according to the Russian government.

The cluster has been allocated around 27.3 billion roubles (around $860m) in funding from Russia’s economic development programme between 2010 and 2015, with around 60% of the money coming from central government subsidies and investment, 20% from regional funds and 20% from private investment. It comprises the Yunona company alongside the Ural division of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Ural Federal University.

Yunona has a number of business units and among other projects has been involved in setting up a pharmaceutical glassware production unit which is due to start operations before the end of 2011. Aside from glassware its other operations span the production of oncology drugs and insulin, oral dosage forms, freeze-drying services and distribution and logistics.

Details of the latest agreement with Bayer remain sketchy at present, but in a press release the two partners said they “intend to cooperate and build effective capacities in the field of development, production, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical products in Russia”.

Multinational drugmakers have been busily setting up manufacturing infrastructure in Russia not only to tap into the country’s fast-growing medicines market, but also to secure preferential reimbursement status for their products.

Russia has implemented measures to reduce its reliance on imported drugs from a current level of over 80%, focusing on giving preference to domestically-made drugs in the national reimbursement system.

Phil Taylor

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