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21 Dec 2010

Novartis to plow $500M into Russia

Novartis' pledged to invest $500 million in Russian manufacturing, R&D and public health.

Novartis ($NVS) has big plans for the "R" in BRIC. Those fast-growing emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have been attracting huge investments from Big Pharma these days, but Novartis' pledge to invest $500 million in Russian manufacturing, R&D and public health is among the biggest.

First, the Swiss drugmaker has inked a deal with the city of St. Petersburg to build a manufacturing plant there. Given Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent warning to foreign drugmakers--that they'd face restrictions if they didn't manufacture locally--the planned facility is a key component of Novartis' in-country strategy. "Novartis is making a strategic investment in Russia for long term growth," said CEO Joe Jimenez (photo) in a statement. "The ongoing partnership with Russia enables us to expand our commercial presence in a key emerging market."

When it comes online in 2011, the new plant will make 1.5 billion units of branded and generic products a year,

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