MUNDIPHARMA on Friday unveiled plans to set up a new Betadine facility in Singapore that will have it combine research and development (R&D), manufacturing and distribution as the group moves to expand its presence in the region.
To be operational by January 2018, the 7,300 square foot consumer health hub will be located in Tuas.
The new hub will be the group's first consumer and over-the-counter (OTC) facility in emerging markets and the largest for Betadine, which is used to prevent and treat infections, said Raman Singh, Mundipharma president of Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
At the same time, it will also be the global R&D hub for consumer and OTC products, which "makes it the centre of our consumer care division", he added.
"So 70 per cent of our regional volume will be supplied from this plant, which would be in tens of millions of dollars."
While other facilities usually house one to four production lines depending on the market, the new one in Singapore will house six Betadine production lines. It is expected to produce the equivalent of about one billion applications of Betadine treatments annually to meet increased demand in the region.
"In 2011 when we started this whole roll-out of expansion in emerging markets, in Singapore we had 25 people. Today we have close to 100, and I believe this will go up to 200 in the next couple of years; and because the plant is highly automated, we're not expecting a lot of labour to drive the production volume but we do expect the critical roles in the facility to be research, development, senior roles in manufacturing, quality assurance, quality testing and supply chain," Mr Singh said.
Having a manufacturing and R&D hub here will enable the group to respond quickly to regional health crises and seek new solutions in a shorter period of time.
In vitro studies have shown that Betadine kills the viruses associated with diseases such as Ebola, Mers, Sars, influenza and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), the group said.
"Most of these infectious diseases are in the developing world ... The fact that now that we'll be here in Singapore and we'll have a fully fledged and fully integrated research development, quality control and manufacturing facility altogether will just help us to be that much faster in real time," said Mr Singh.
Weng Si Ho, director of biomedical sciences at Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), welcomed Mundipharma's commitment to Singapore.
"This is a testament to Singapore's capabilities to partner companies in both the production and development of innovative medicines to address global health care needs."
Mundipharma's independent associated companies are privately owned entities covering the world's pharmaceuticals markets.
Mundipharma has clarified that the new facility will be 7,300 sq ft instead of 7,500 sq ft as it previously mentioned.