Samsung will invest $266 million in a pharmaceutical joint venture, as part of a ten-year multi-billion dollar attempt to develop new growth engines.

Samsung said work would start in the first half of this year on a biopharmaceutical production plant at Songdo International City, part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone west of Seoul.It said that production of drugs for cancer and arthritis patients was expected to start in the first half of 2013.

Samsung Electronics and Samsung Everland would each own 40% of the joint venture, Samsung C and T would have 10% and U.S.-based pharmaceutical multinational Quintiles would own the remaining 10%.

Samsung, which accounts for 20% of the country's exports, in May last year announced plans to invest 23 trillion won in healthcare and green energy over the next decade. Some 2.1 trillion of the total was earmarked for biopharmaceuticals and today's announcement signaled the first major step in those plans.

Samsung said it would initially be engaged in contract manufacturing but planned in the longer term to develop its own products.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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