The move is a further validation of the strength of India as a location for this type of facility, and is part of a growing trend for chemical and pharmaceutical companies to source facilities in the country. India benefits from a pool of world-class researchers, many of whom have gained significant international experience in the US and Europe, while start-up and operation costs are less.
Making the announcement at the BioAsia 2004 conference in Hyderabad yesterday, Sigma-Aldrich said that the 50,000 square foot complex in the city's ICICI Knowledge Park will eventually house 70 to 80 new chemists doing contract research, process development and small scale custom synthesis work largely for pharmaceutical customers.
It will be constructed within the company's previously announced $88 million capital budget for 2004 and will serve as a feeder site for the firm's larger scale production operations in Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The unit will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2005.
Sigma-Aldrich's president of scientific research, Jai Nagarkatti, said that the plant is the next logical step in the company's expansion in India. "From simple beginnings as a liaison office in 1992, our business in India has grown rapidly, doubling to just under $11 million in sales over the past three years alone," he commented.
Nagarkatti was born in Hyderabad, now considered the capital of India's pharmaceuticals industry.