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Mon 1 Jan 2007 02:20 PM

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AstraZeneca opens first ME manufacturing plant

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has opened the doors of its first manufacturing plant in the Middle East, marking the latest stage of the company's regional expansion.

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has opened the doors of its first manufacturing plant in the Middle East, marking the latest stage of the company's regional expansion.

The Cairo-based facility, due to start production this year, represents a US $32 million investment by the company.

"This is a new era for AstraZeneca with our first manufacturing investment in the Middle East," said David Brennan, the company's CEO. "This is a strong signal of our commitment to invest in the region and our confidence in Egypt following the new government reforms."

The Egyptian pharmaceutical market is worth an estimated $1.6 billion annually. Investment in the market has seen a steep rise following Egypt's adoption of the World Trade Organisation's "TRIPS" (trade-related aspects of intellectual property) agreement in early 2005, with several pharmaceutical firms earmarking the country as a key emerging market.

AstraZeneca alone has more than doubled its staff presence during the past two years to a total of 350 employees and has set up a regional office in Cairo to front its Middle East and Northern Africa expansion.

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