As drugmakers attempt to move up the value chain to manufacture sophisticated new medicines in China, General Electric Co. wants to sell them factories: right off the shelf.
GE shipped its first pre-made biopharmaceutical factory from Germany to China in September. The building made its way to a biotechnology zone in the central Chinese city of Wuhan bundled in 62 containers -- traveling along the Rhine and Yangtze rivers and going by sea in between. In China, the factory was assembled and built in 11 days.
The idea is to help pharma companies gain a head start in China as they navigate a lengthy approval process for new drugs. GE says the pre-made factories help them cut costs and timing by about half when compared with traditional facilities. As health-care costs soar, there's rising demand in China for cheaper access to more complex drugs called biologics and their more affordable generic cousins, called biosimilars.