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Servier sets up in Russia

France's largest independent drug company Servier has invested ?40m in a new tablet producing factory in Russia to meet demand from the local market.

The 11,500sq m facility in Moscow will be the first facility in Russia for Servier, which is the leader for prescription drug sales in the country.

Servier spokeswoman Lucy Vincent told the building of the Russian facility was a way for the company to fill a need and meet the demand for Servier drugs in the Russian market.

The facility, which was officially opened last week, would produce up to 15 different drugs, largely in the therapeutic areas of hypertension, diabetes, central nervous system and cancer.

The active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) would be manufactured in France and exported to Russia for drug production at the new facility.

Annual production after a run-in period is set to hit 60 million packs, at which point the centre would be employee more than 180 staff, the majority of which would be Russian.

Production is expected to start in September, with the facility fully operational by the beginning of next year.

"It's a huge honour to have set up a manufacturing base in Russia and a huge joy to be achieving success in this remarkable country," Servier founder and chief executive Dr Jacques Servier said in a statement.

Situated on an eight-hectare site, the construction of the facility was such that future expansion could be possible, with a potential doubling of the production area, Vincent said.

Russia has a drug sale turnover of $5.6bn (?4.1bn) with Servier representing a 5.72 per cent market share and turnover of ?244m, which grew by more than 65 per cent in 2006.

Based on the continued active involvement of the state in the Russian drug sector, the country's pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $17.2bn by 2010.

Servier is currently established in 140 countries, with sales outside of France accounting for 82 per cent of its production.

The company has plans in the pipeline for a new API production facility in Ireland.

Drugs to be manufactured at the Russian site include: Protelos (strontium ranelate) an antiosteoporotic treatment also marketed as Bivalos, Osseor, Ossum, Protaxos, and Protos; the antihypertensive drugs Coversyl (perindopril) and Fludex (indapamide), which is also marketed as Napamide and Natrilix; Vastarel (trimetazidine) for angina, which is also marketed as  Cardaptan, Idaptan, Preductal MR, Flavedon MR, Trizedon, Vastinan, Vasorel;
and Diamicron (gliclazide) for diabetes, also known as Diabeton, Dianormax MR, and Diaprel.

Antihypertensive ingredient invabradine is being developed but is yet to be available in the market.



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