Sabah - Zentiva, the generics arm of pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi-aventis, has picked Turkey as the location to develop, produce and export generic drugs to the world. Zentiva’s pharmaceutical plant in Luleburgaz, Kirklareli is currently one of the three biggest research and development (R&D) labs of the Sanofi-aventis Group. Established by Turkish pharmaceutical company Eczacibasi, the Luleburgaz-based generic drugs business was acquired by Czech Zentiva in 2007, which itself later became part of French Sanofi-aventis. Zentiva plans to develop 15 new medicines per year in Luleburgaz, according to Zentiva CEO, Rob Koremans, with an average annual investment of TRY 10 million (approx. USD 6.1 million). “The Turkish government’s efforts to improve access to healthcare services are encouraging,” said Koremans in a press meeting held at Zentiva headquarters in Prague, the Czech Republic.
“Zentiva Turkey closed the previous year with a sales volume of TRY 295 million (approx. USD 180 million),” said Zentiva Turkey’s General Manager Sahin Arslan. Arslan said that Zentiva Turkey has positioned itself as a local company, providing 95 percent of previously imported medicines and will soon supply the group’s antibiotic drugs from its Luleburgaz plant. “Antibiotics production will start in 2012 in Turkey, aimed towards 29 countries including Japan, Russia and Canada,” he said.
The Luleburgaz plant is one of the four production sites of Zentiva, with a capacity to produce 425 million drug packages annually. Located in northwestern Turkey, the plant has over 1,000 employees engaged in research & development and production of generic drugs.