Plant opening in Debrecen
19 April 2012, Debrecen – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Debrecen Mayor Lajos Kósa and Gedeon Richter CEO Erik Bogsch were present at the opening ceremony for Richter’s new HUF 25 billion Biotechnology Plant in Debrecen.
The state-of-the-art facility will initially produce samples for clinical tests with the use of mammalian cells and will begin to manufacture drugs for treating human diseases in 2014. The plant will later produce proteins and antibodies for fighting cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.
“Richter’s strategic goal is to create a complex and competitive biotechnological product line which will help to expand its portfolio with high added value products. The Debrecen plant has made biotechnological manufacturing more competitive, which helps to implement Hungary’s biotechnology strategy and contributes to increasing Hungary’s competitiveness,” Richter CEO Erik Bogsch said, pointing out the importance of the plant.
The Biotechnology Plant was built with government aid in an easily accessible industrial zone furnished with all of the necessary infrastructure. The government provided Richter with HUF 1.384 billion (EUR 4.6 million) in state aid in order to carry out the project and will disburse the entire amount by 31 December 2012.
The HUF 25 billion (EUR 84 million) investment will improve the regional competitiveness of Hungary’s northern Great Plain region. The plant, whose impact on the environment is minimal, will initially produce samples for clinical trials.
The manufacture of commercial products with high intellectual and technological added value is slated to begin in 2014. These drugs will be protein products made of mammalian cells grown in bioreactors, such as antibodies for treating cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.
The plant complies with the most recent international quality, safety and environmental standards for pharmaceutical manufacturing. The plant has created 120 new jobs for highly qualified professionals, whose training began some years ago in cooperation with the University of Debrecen.
Shrinking opportunities in traditional innovation and increasing generic competition in the pharmaceutical industry highlight the crucial importance of new fields, such as biotechnology, which offer business opportunities for companies that think long term. Richter has been making use of biotechnological processes for more than forty years.
The company has great traditions and a large pool of experts in both development and manufacturing, and it is the most important corporate innovation base in the region. On average, Richter spends 10% of its sales revenue on R&D, more than any other company in the region. In 2011, its R&D spending amounted to HUF 28.7 billion (EUR 95 million).
The significance of biotechnology products continues unabated in the global pharmaceutical market. Twenty-eight per cent of the products given marketing authorisation between November 2010 and October 2011 in the U.S.A. and one-third of all the new drugs in the European Union are of biotechnological origin. Experts unanimously agree that the market share of biotechnology products will continue to grow in the future.
While the small-molecule drug market is estimated to grow by 3.9% annually between now and 2015, the market for biotechnology products is expected to grow by more than 10% a year. The trend is further bolstered by the fact that approximately one-third of the current clinical development topics are of biotechnological origin.
According to competent estimates, seven of the world’s top ten drugs will be of biotechnological origin by 2016. These forecasts and data unequivocally support Richter’s strategic decision to create a biotechnology portfolio and build the new Biotechnology Plant.