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Novartis to invest billion dollars in China

by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Nov 3, 2009
Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis said Tuesday that it would invest 1.0 billion dollars (680 million euros) 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 (CNIBR) which specialises in basic research and developing new drugs, Novartis said in a statement.

"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 centres at its headquarters in the Swiss city of Basel and in the United States, employing about 1,000 researchers instead of the current 160.

Another 250 million dollars will go to a new global technical centre 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-dollar plan to expand access to affordable health care over the next three years, it added.

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