Rapid growth in the biopharmaceutical sector in China, India and Southeast Asia has prompted US filtration specialist Pall to devote more resources and industry experts to these regions, as the 14 per cent growth seen in its BioPharm business over the last year is largely attributed to the well-established presence the company has there.
One of the most promising markets for Pall is India, where the pharmaceutical industry is growing at a rate of nearly 9 per cent annually.
Buoyed by recent patent protection legislation and a boost in R&D investment by local producers, India now has more FDA-approved manufacturing plants than any other country except the US.
The company is responding by expanding the services it offers in the country and will open a new Centre of Excellence in Bangalore this year.
The centre will supply the pharmaceutical marketplace with a full range of total fluid management solutions and will include a process proteomics laboratory, a training facility and a validation laboratory to meet the growing need for support as Indian companies enter the highly regulated drug export market.
Overseeing the firm's biopharmaceutical marketing activities throughout Asia is Holly Haughney, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and a 16-year veteran at Pall, who told In-PharmaTechnologist.com that India, with its plethora of graduates, has great potential for pharmaceutical manufacturing.
"India is in growing need for validation and has more and more drugs that need to be exported," she said.
"We also find that young markets such as India and China are more open to adopting new technologies than many in the West."
There are plans to build a Center of Excellence in Shanghai too, as China's more than $20bn (€16.6bn) pharmaceutical market is set to experience double-digit growth rates to 2010.
The area around the Yangtze River is particularly attractive for Pall, where affluent local customers seek help to optimise operations, expedite process validation and participate in the transition to disposable processing.
Nevertheless, the company organises training schemes across China, such as the Storm program, which offers technical seminars in all key biopharmaceutical production locations in the country on a variety of topics ranging from sterilising filtration to enhancing active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production.
Pall's infrastructure extends throughout the Asia Pacific region, including Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Singapore has proved to be most fertile for biopharmaceutical manufacturing so Pall has set up a technical center and lab there that offers solutions on systems engineering as well as a wide range of services for qualification, optimisation and validation.
"Singapore has a very strong base of multinational API manufacturers and is quickly developing into an R&D and manufacturing hub for MAbs (monoclonal antibodies) and recombinant vaccines," said Hans-Peter Mueller, regional manager at Pall BioPharmaceuticals Southeast Asia.
"Strong government support in the life sciences area in general also has been instrumental in furthering the market."
The company also has plans to build a Center of Excellence in Singapore to address life science activities for all of Southeast Asia.