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AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot speaks At AstraZeneca in Mississauga Ontario, Canada on February 27, 2023. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS OSORIO/FILE
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot speaks At AstraZeneca in Mississauga Ontario, Canada on February 27, 2023. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS OSORIO/FILE

Bengaluru — AstraZeneca plans to build a $1.5bn manufacturing facility in Singapore to produce a promising category of cancer-killing drugs called antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said on Monday.

The facility, which will be the drugmaker’s first end-to-end ADC production site, will be supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board. The company did not provide details on the possible financial incentives from the Singapore government.

London-listed AstraZeneca has been expanding into markets like China, Indonesia and India over the past few years in an effort to widen its supply chain. Its breast cancer therapy Enhertu is made by its partner Daiichi Sankyo in Japan.

CEO Pascal Soriot said Singapore was a top global venue for investment with a reputation for excellence in complex manufacturing.

ADCs are engineered antibodies that bind to tumour cells and then release cell-killing chemicals.

The multistage production of ADCs involves generating the antibody, synthesising the chemotherapy drug and its linker, conjugating these elements, and filling of the completed ADC substance.

AstraZeneca has a wide portfolio of in-house ADCs, which includes six wholly owned ADCs in clinic and more in preclinical development.

Economic Development Board chair Png Cheong Boon welcomed AstraZeneca’s plans, saying it supported Singapore’s development and manufacturing of precision medicines, and helped create jobs and economic opportunities.

Building of the facility will begin by the end of 2024 and it should be operational from 2029, the company said, adding it will have zero carbon emissions from its first day of operations.

Reuters

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