NovartisNovartis announced today a USD 1 billion investment over the next five years, increasing R&D activities in China and confirming Novartis' long term commitment to China's further economic development, health reform and improving the health care of the Chinese people. The Novartis investment will include a significant expansion of The Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research (CNIBR) in Shanghai.

"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 Dr Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis. "We are also pleased to contribute to the Shanghai government's aim to establish the city as the premiere R&D center for China's bio-medicine industry by 2012, as Novartis is committed to investing to further the Chinese government's strategy for stimulating economic growth, stability and enhancing the livelihood of the Chinese people."

Demand for healthcare in China is growing rapidly. In addition, the burden of disease now includes more chronic diseases associated with lifestyle choices. The government is working to expand access to affordable, basic medical services to all citizens by 2020, and recently announced that it will spend approximately USD124 billion over the next three years to further build the nation's health system. Government efforts are expected to extend to expanding insurance coverage, updating public hospitals and training community healthcare workers. Activities are also anticipated to help improve health IT systems and strengthen the quality and safety of pharmaceutical production capabilities, improving access to innovative treatments. Novartis aims to support the government's health reform by sharing knowledge and best practices. 
 
Novartis investments will expand The Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research in Shanghai (CNIBR) which is currently located in Zhangjiang High-tech Park. The Institute specializes in basic research and development of new drugs including small molecule and biological medicines to treat diseases that are highly prevalent in China. To allow for this large expansion, the BioMedical Research Institute will relocate to a new state of the art campus in Shanghai. Its activities are expected to span work in analytics and biomarkers, in vivo pharmacology, protein production, characterization and scale-up screening and chemistry and proteomics, genomics and imaging. CNIBR is expected to extend and increase its collaborations with institutions in China and is committed to cultivating local R&D talent, sharing the world-leading development technology platform of Novartis and years of drug development experience. CNIBR is expected to be the third largest R&D center for Novartis, after the R&D center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and the facility at the Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and to become the largest comprehensive R&D center in China. Estimates are that the number of R&D associate positions will increase from 160 today to about 1,000. 
 
Novartis also announced that it has invested USD 250 million in a new global technical center which is opening in Changshu, focused on technical research, development and manufacturing activities of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients). The synergies gained from the co-location of both technical R&D and manufacturing enable significant pharmaceutical process improvements and operational efficiencies. The number of high quality jobs at the new center is projected to nearly double, and the facility is expected to be a critical part of the global production and supply chain network.