Neopharma Pharmaceutical Plant, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Neopharma opened a new pharmaceutical plant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in July 2003. The plant then entered a three month period of testing and validation before entering its full production schedule for 45 different types of medicines, in early November 2003.

In 2004 the plant was awarded the Specialist Award in Pharma by the Arab Health ME for having the best pharmaceutical facility in the Middle East. The plant was also awarded the 2006 Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award for its pioneering initiatives in manufacturing.

"The Neopharma production plant was instigated by New Medical Centre Group (NMC), which has since opened two new hospitals in the UAE."

Neopharma was setup by the New Medical Centre Group of the UAE in collaboration with Ranbaxy Global of India and Pfizer of the US. Other partners now include Parke-Davis (USA), Dr Reddy's (India), Biocon (India), Apotex (Canada), Jamieson (Canada), SM Pharmaceuticals (Malaysia) and Lapgap (Switzerland). The total investment in the first phase plant came to Dirham 70m ($25m).

The plant was constructed on a 12.5 acre site in the Mussafah industrial suburb, with planning aid from the General Industries Corporation, administrators of the Mussafah Industrial Park.

The principals of the company who have developed its philosophy since it started, are the Chairman Abdulla Humaid Al Mazorei and the founding partner and MD Dr BR Shetty. Dr Shetty announced in the third quarter of 2005 that Neopharma had reached its break-even point.

The plant, which covers 17,000 square metres, was designed and constructed on a modular concept, consisting of five separate buildings for antibiotics production, general production, research and development, formulation and QC/QA.

In late 2005 the company entered the biotech market by the setting up of a joint collaboration research centre with Biocon of India, to develop and manufacture biopharmaceuticals in areas including oncology, anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressant, cardiology, diabetes and anti-obesity.

The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July 2007 to setup a biopharmaceutical company named NeoBiocon, at the new biotech business park in Dubai called DuBiotech. The project was supervised and designed by Parsons and CUH2A.

Financial backing and contractors linked to Neopharma's UAE-based plant

The Neopharma production plant was instigated by New Medical Centre Group (NMC), which has since opened two new hospitals in the UAE. The managing director of NMC, BR Shetty, explained that the UAE was only able to source medicines from Europe and the US at premium prices and that the NMC business structure includes hospitals, pharmacies and medical centres, so the next logical step was to manufacture medicines.

The plant was financed through a 60:40 debt-equity combination and the debt portion was underwritten by the Bank of Baroda in India. Ranbaxy and Pfizer have provided knowledge, technology and training. In return, they expect to be able to use a portion of the manufacturing capacity. Ranbaxy has licensed the manufacture of cephalosporins at the plant in a custom-built antibiotic manufacturing module. The construction was carried out by Amana Steel Building Contractor (main contractor) and Dastur Consultants (architecture, design and engineering).

Production capacity at Neopharma's pharmaceutical plant in Abu Dhabi

The Neopharma plant's first phase came into full production in November 2003. The production targets for the first year were 180 million tablets, 45 million units of antibiotics, 30 million capsules and nine million liquid oral doses for 45 different medicines.

"Neopharma was setup by the New Medical Centre Group of the UAE in collaboration with Ranbaxy Global of India and Pfizer of the US."

Neopharma broke ground for a large scale expansion in October 2009. The expansion facilitates the production of more than 300 varieties of drugs and allows Neopharma to establish a range of over-the-counter medicines of its own brand and nutraceuticals in the UAE.

In 2005, Neopharma expanded its product range to include five new products. These included Neoclav (amoxicillin and clavulanic acid), Neosorbide (isosorbide mononitrate for the treatment of angina including sustained release variations), Neogastro, Neogastro Plus and Neosolvon (for respiratory disorders).

In 2006, the company increased its product range again with more antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, doxycyclin, amoxyclav, ceruroxime axetil) and also a sustained release version of the important anti-diabetic drug metformin.

Neopharma's current product range includes anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and arthritis medication, cardiovascular, anti-diabetic, gastrointestinal formulas, respiratory system drugs, cough mixtures and multivitamins.

Manufacturing and collaboration between Neopharma, Ranbaxy and Dr Reddy's

Ranbaxy has an agreement with Neopharma to allow the manufacture of two cephalosporins at the custom-built module solely set aside for the manufacture of cephalosporins and other ß-lactam products. Subsequent phases of the plant will see Ranbaxy manufacturing a wider range of drugs at the new plant for worldwide distribution.

The antibiotics unit conforms to all international standards set up by the FDA and European authorities. Dr Reddy's Laboratories, another Indian company, is also involved in technical collaboration with Neopharma for some of their manufacturing processes.

Dr Reddy's has even suggested carrying out some formulation and finishing at the Neopharma facility after the initial active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production at their FDA-approved plant in India.

The plant will not only produce active pharmaceutical ingredients but will also carry out the full range of formulation, finishing and packaging for a large portfolio of drugs and medicines.