LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is investing $285 million to expand biotech drug manufacturing in Sweden as the company bets on the future of high-tech medicine for future growth.
The new facility for biological medicines in Sodertalje will supply medicines for clinical trial programs from the end of 2018 and will deliver finished products for commercial use once fully operational by 2019.
The planned investment will, subject to relevant approvals by the local authorities, create between 150 and 250 highly skilled new roles at AstraZeneca by 2019, the Anglo-Swedish company said in a statement on Monday.
The new plant will be focused on filling and packaging of protein therapeutics.
Sodertalje is already AstraZeneca’s biggest global manufacturing facility for traditional tablets and capsules.
The decision to add the new biotech capability reflects the changing nature of the company's portfolio as it focuses more on injectable biotech medicines, which now make up around half of the new drug pipeline.
Biotech drugs are increasingly being used to treat cancer, which AstraZeneca sees as a major commercial opportunity, as well as for a variety of other diseases, including asthma.
Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Louise Heavens