Boehringer Ingelheim has expanded its presence in China by signing a pact with Zhangjiang Biotech & Pharmaceutical Base Development Co to build a biopharmaceuticals facility in Pudong, Shanghai.

The German drugmaker says the new site will provide "a full range of development and clinical services to Chinese and multi-national customers" and "become the first facility established by a leading international biopharmaceuticals manufacturer" in the country using mammalian cell culture technology.

It will be ready for operations in early 2016 and Boehringer is investing over 35 million euros in the project which will create up to 65 jobs "with high qualification standards". The Ingelheim group's chairman Christian Boehringer said the partnership with ZJ Base Co "is an important step in our global China strategy", adding that Shanghai is the ideal spot "with its advantages in investment environment, service system and talent resources".

Hubertus von Baumbach, board member in charge of finance, noted that Boehringer has had a presence in China since 1994 and the move to invest in biopharmaceuticals is in line with the country’s overall growth plan for the next five years. He went on to say that "biopharmaceuticals, together with prescription medicines, consumer health care, animal health and manufacturing, will form the five pillars driving our business in China".

Speaking to PharmaTimes World News at the group's annual press conference just over a month ago, chairman of the board Andreas Barner stressed the importance of China where his firm hopes to be one of the top players. In 2012, sales in the country reached 358 million euros, up 32% on the previous year, and it was one of only three, amongst the top 20 multinational pharma companies in China, to increase market share.

As well as focusing on marketing its oral anticoagulant Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation and the Eli Lilly-partnered diabetes drug Trajenta (linagliptin), Boehringer's consumer healthcare division is looking at acquisitions and partnerships in areas such as traditional Chinese medicines.