Strong Economic Growth Draws Pharma Companies to Malaysia


A rapidly growing pharma market and environment friendly to clinical trials are among the features that are attracting a growing number of multinational pharmaceutical companies to Malaysia. However, those pluses are balanced by decided favoritism toward domestic production, seen in government supply contracts and tax codes.

According to a September 2016 report by PharmSource’s colleagues at GlobalData, Malaysia’s pharma market is set to grow from $2.3 billion in 2015 to $3.6 billion by 2020, registering a compound annual growth rate of 9.5%. Malaysia was ranked as the 14th most competitive economy in the world in 2015; GDP—$298 billion in 2015—is forecast to expand by 5.3% per year.

This forecast growth has led to increased interest in establishing capacity in Malaysia. The rapid growth in the Malaysian pharma market has driven some significant investment there over the last couple of years. For instance, Biocon last year gained cGMP certification from Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau for a new insulin plant in Nusajaya, Johor, expected to begin commercial operations by the end of this month (December 2016 EMOR). The new facility will produce insulin and insulin analogs, as well as drug products in vials, cartridges and delivery devices. Products made at the new plant will be sold initially in local markets, and gradually expanded to global markets.

In 2015, Strides Shasun subsidiary Stelis Biopharma began building a 140,000-square-foot, $55.77 million biologics manufacturing facility in Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia (March 2015 EMOR). The plant will include single-use bioprocessing technology in its two microbial manufacturing suites, along with sterile fill-finish capability.

This article is reprinted from the March issue of Emerging Markers Outsourcing Report. The full article addresses the benefits and challenges in the Malaysia pharmaceutical market. To learn more, click here.

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Jim Miller is the founder and president of PharmSource Information Services, Inc. A preeminent expert in bio/pharmaceutical outsourcing, Jim established and presides over the industry’s principal resource for serious consumers of information on contract drug development and manufacturing, PharmSource STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE. He is editor and publisher of Bio/Pharmaceutical Outsourcing Report and Emerging Markets Outsourcing Report.

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