Eli Lilly invests further US$20m with Chinese manufacturer

Novast will set up a platform to supply Lilly-branded generic medicines

Eli Lilly has expanded its collaboration with Novast Laboratories, a generic and specialist pharmaceutical company based in Nantong, China.

The Indiana, US-based firm has increased its investment in Novast by US$20m with the aim of building a portfolio of Lilly branded generic medicines in China. The collaboration may also ultimately result in Novast providing local and regional manufacturing capabilities for Lilly's own pipeline of potential new medicines.

Lilly made an initial equity investment in Novast several years ago through its venture capital unit, Lilly Asian Ventures.

Novast has agreed to set up a platform to support Lilly branded generic products and increase the manufacturing capacity at its Nantong site over the next several years, with Lilly providing technical support to improve quality standards.

The additional capacity will support the collaboration, but will not be solely dedicated to Lilly products. The two companies have selected an initial list of medicines across multiple therapeutic areas that will be manufactured by Novast once the facilities are operational. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Jacques Tapiero, Lilly’s senior vice president and president of Emerging Markets, said: ‘In Lilly's emerging markets business, we are focused on providing patients with innovative medicines from our own pipeline, as well as selected Lilly branded generic medicines that meet our quality standards. The additional manufacturing capabilities provided by Novast will allow us to deliver better on that strategy.’

Guohua Zhang, president and ceo of Novast Laboratories, added: ‘This long-term strategic partnership will combine Lilly's expertise in innovation, commercialisation and operations with Novast's strengths in product development and quality manufacturing. We are committed to helping Lilly bring high-quality medicines to patients in China and potentially other countries.’

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