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Pharma and Biotech: Unstable Condition

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms in North America are restructuring to cut costs and diversify their marketshares - but profits are still high.

Mark Crawford (Apr/May 08)
(page 2 of 2)
The Mexican Market
Pharma/biotech sales in Mexico reached nearly $14 billion in 2007. The annual growth rate of about 12 percent makes Mexico one of the top pharmaceutical producers in the world. "Only China's growth is comparable," says Jan Ramakers, director of the Jan Ramakers Fine Chemicals Consulting Group. "In 2006, China's growth was 12 percent. Compare this to North America [not including Mexico], which is growing at around 8 percent."

Mexico is also known for the maturity of its market regulations and overall business environment. Multinational pharmaceutical companies in Mexico include Merck, Abbot Laboratories, AstraZeneca, and Bayer.

Monterrey, in the state of Nuevo León, has become one of the leading biotech centers in Mexico. State and federal monies are being invested to develop a high-tech work force and cutting-edge research facilities, such as the new Research and Innovation Technology Park. Monterrey Tec is also building a $35 million biotechnology center for sharing its engineering expertise with the private sector through creative research partnerships. In Mexico City, Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim is building a $70 million facility that will provide contract pharmaceutical manufacturing for U.S. and Canadian clients.

The Puerto Rican Market
The pharmaceutical sector in Puerto Rico employs about 30,000 people. In 2003 over $31 billion worth of pharmaceutical products were shipped from Puerto Rico. The island nation also offers pharmaceutical manufacturers a full range of suppliers and services, including high-tech contract manufacturing.

Puerto Rico's excellent education system has created a highly-skilled, bilingual work force that is well prepared to meet the growing needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Biotech/pharma companies in Puerto Rico include Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and IVAX; European companies include Warner Chilcott, Clariant, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Several new infrastructure projects are designed to support the needs of the biotech industry. "Examples are the $12.5 million Bioprocess Training and Development Complex, our new world-class Biomolecular Building, and the Puerto Rico Cancer Center, a joint partnership with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center," says Boris Jaskille, executive director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company.

Biotech giant Abbott Laboratories has recently opened a new facility in Puerto Rico which will produce Humira, the only fully human monoclonal antibody approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This $450 million, 330,000-square-foot facility is Abbott's single-largest capital investment to date. Since setting up operations on the island in 1968, Abbott has invested more than $1 billion in its Barceloneta facility.
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