* To invest 800 mln Swiss francs in manufacturing of
* Will create 500 jobs in Germany, Switzerland and United
* Many of Roche's promising new medicines are biologics
By Caroline Copley
ZURICH, Oct 14 Swiss drugmaker Roche is
to invest 800 million Swiss francs ($880 million) in its global
manufacturing facilities over the next five years, creating 500
jobs, as it prepares for growing demand for its biologic
The world's largest maker of cancer drugs, which employs
around 80,000 people in over 100 countries, said on Monday the
investment would increase its production capacity in Penzberg in
Germany, Basel in Switzerland and Vacaville and Oceanside in the
The expansion shows Roche's confidence in its development
pipeline of new cancer drugs and bucks a trend of cost-cutting
by some big drugmakers in recent weeks in response to slowing
Last week Israel-based Teva, the world's largest
maker of generic drugs by sales, said it would cut 5,000 jobs,
while Merck & Co plans to slash annual operating costs
by $2.5 billion and eliminate more than 10 percent of its
Shares in Roche were down 0.2 percent at 238 francs by 0837
GMT, when the Stoxx Europe 600 healthcare sector index
was down 0.1 pct.
Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss said he was not surprised by
the investment as manufacturing is a core competency of Roche
and the company is at present the leanest drug company with only
15 manufacturing sites worldwide.
Many of Roche's most promising medicines, such as rheumatoid
arthritis treatment RoActemra and new breast cancer drugs
Kadcyla and Perjeta are biologics, which unlike chemical drugs
are proteins or cells derived from living organisms that are
hard to replicate.
The Basel-based firm has also mostly been spared the pain so
far of patent expiries ravaging rivals as many of its
top-sellers are biologics which have not faced generic
"As the world's largest supplier of biologics, Roche is
committed to making the necessary investments to ensure ongoing
supply of these medicines at the highest quality standards,"�
said Daniel O'Day, chief operating officer of Roche's
Roche said it would invest approximately 260 million Swiss
francs ($286 million) at its Vacaville and Oceanside sites
creating around 250 new jobs. In Penzberg, it will invest around
350 million francs ($385 million), creating roughly 200 jobs.
It will also build a production facility in Basel to
manufacture antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) - also known as
"armed antibodies" which can take drugs directly to cancer
The company won U.S. approval in February for Kadcyla, its
first such antibody-drug conjugate, which treats breast cancer
with fewer side effects such as hair loss.
Roche has a further eight ADCs in clinical development and
16 in pre-clinical development.
Swiss drugs industry supplier and life sciences group
has also upped its bet on growing demand for biologics
and in January said it would expand its ADC manufacturing
capacity in Visp, Switzerland.
Lonza manufactures the chemical linker that connects the
antibody to cytotoxic drugs.