AstraZeneca Opens Its First Manufacturing Plant In Middle East

Egypt 's new intellectual property rights reforms was key factor to choosing Cairo.

Choosing Cairo as the site of its first manufacturing investment in the Middle East, AstraZeneca announced the opening of a new $32 million tablet factory on Dec. 13.

"This is a strong signal of our commitment to invest in the region and our confidence in Egypt which has seen good economic progress following the new government reforms," said David Brennan, CEO, of AstraZeneca

The 7,000 square foot plant will have three production lines with a capacity of 250 million tablets with a potential output of 400 million tablets, the company said. Production of the tablets, which will be used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, cancer and psychiatric disorders, is slated to begin early next year.

One reason the company chose Egypt is that Egypt fully adopted the WTO "TRIPS" agreement protecting intellectual property rights on January 1, 2005. The value of the Egyptian pharmaceutical market is $1.6 billion annually, with multi-national companies supplying 65% of the market through direct local manufacturing (30%) or through licensing agreements (35%), according to a company statement.

Employment at the AstraZeneca Egypt Marketing Company has more than doubled during the past two years and now numbers 350. The company set up a new regional office in Cairo responsible for Middle East & Northern Africa.

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