Novartis to Invest R&D Funds in China

Will open a new global technical center

Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis said on Nov. 3 that it would invest $1 billion in research and development in China to latch on to growing demand for health care.

The five-year investment will include an expansion of the company's Institute for BioMedical Research in Shanghai which specializes in basic research and developing new drugs, Novartis said.

"We are confident that our expanded investment in R&D will result in innovative therapies for patients in China and other countries nurtured by the growing scientific excellence in China," said chief executive Daniel Vasella.

The institute is to become the third largest research facility for the group after centere at its headquarters in the Swiss city of Basel and in the U.S., employing about 1,000 researchers instead of the current 160.

Another $250 million will go to a new global technical center which is opening in Changshu.

Novartis said the demand for health care in China was growing rapidly, as the population suffered from a greater burden of chronic diseases associated with lifestyle choices.

The Chinese government has announced a $124 billion plan to expand access to affordable health care over the next three years.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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