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AstraZeneca mulls production in Russia

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca may launch production in Russia as it turns to emerging markets for growth amid stalling Western sales.

'We are considering locating manufacturing of our key products here ... also we are currently investing in partnership with Russian R&D centres,' Frederic Girard, president of AstraZeneca Russia, said in a statement.

The company expects double-digit growth in emerging markets, which are forecast to account for 25 percent of group sales by 2014, up from 13 percent, or $4.35 billion, in 2009, it said on Tuesday.

Russia is one of the key emerging markets for AstraZeneca globally, the company said in Friday's statement, which was issued after talks with Russia's Deputy Industries and Trade Minister Denis Manturov over possible strategic investments in the Russian market.

Russia, which imports nearly 80 percent of all drugs sold on its market, is keen to encourage international drugmakers to localise manufacturing and share their know-how.

Last year, the government signalled it would give domestic producers more advantages while moving to toughen regulations for the sector in order to rein in price growth.

Several international companies have pledged in the past six months to invest in Russia, including Nycomed, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi-Aventis.

German group Berlin-Chemie will invest 30 million euros ($40.8 million) in building a drug and packaging plant in the Kaluga region, an official at the region's administration told Reuters on Friday


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