Novartis has broken ground on the expansion of its biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Singapore, which aims to meet the increasing demand in the Asian market.

The strategic move will create 100 jobs and focus on the production of therapeutic antibody drugs.

With a $256m investment, the expansion will incorporate digital and automation solutions to enhance productivity and operational efficiency.

The initiative will also upskill the existing workforce and contribute significantly to the growth of Singapore’s life science industry.

Novartis operations president Steffen Lang stated: “Biotherapeutics now account for almost one-half of all recent drug approvals and have enormous potential to address unmet needs of patients across a wide range of diseases.

“To meet this increasing demand for biologics, the Novartis early-stage biologics portfolio has been growing significantly in terms of capacities and investment.

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“Our new facility in Singapore, which will be operational by early 2026, is timely and will help in bolstering the biopharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain across Asia, as well as strengthen local capabilities and upskill talent in Singapore.”

The facility will also provide training to ensure that the workforce is well-equipped to operate in an increasingly digitalised and automated environment.

Since establishing a presence in Singapore in 1986, Novartis has invested more than $1bn to enhance its pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities there.

The Singapore manufacturing site has been operational since 2002. It received a significant boost in 2013 with the establishment of Novartis’ first biopharmaceutical production facility in Asia, supported by the Singapore government.

Earlier this month, Novartis exercised an option to acquire all outstanding capital stock of IFM Therapeutics subsidiary IFM Due for $835m.