Biolab invests R$ 450 million in new manufacturing plant in Minas Gerais

Jornal Valor Econômico - Empresas/SP | 07/24/2017
Fonte: Stella Fontes
The national pharmaceutical company Biolab, of the brothers Cleiton and Paulo de Castro Marques will invest R$ 450 million in a new industry complex in Pouso Alegre (MG). The unit will produce up to 200 million units per year and will triplicate the production capacity of the laboratory, which made R$ 1.25 billion last year.

A lead company in sales and prescription of drugs for cardiology in Brazilian market, according to IMS Health consultancy, Biolab owns three other manufacturing plants, with total capacity to 100 million units per year, and has been planning since 2014 to build its fourth unit.

According to laboratory CEO, Cleiton de Castro Marques, the manufacturing plant of Pouso Alegre will be the greatest one of Biolab. The new production focus will be Brazilian market, but once the unit will have certificates of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its equivalent agency in Europe, European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the idea is also to export drugs. The new manufacturing plant will generate 500 direct jobs. 

The pharmaceutical company bought an area in the city of Estiva in Minas Gerais, which is close to Pouso Alegre, to move forward with the project, but issues related to infrastructure resulted in a change of plans and city. 

In Minas Gerais, there is a tax incentive of 3% of Value-Added Tax (ICMS), but what took the laboratory to Pouso Alegre - today, all manufacturing plants are in São Paulo - was the consolidation of the city as an industrial and pharmaceutical hub. Among other pharmaceutical companies, União Química and Cimed are located in the city, belonging to members of the family named Marques - also the owner of Marques Plaza Hotel, a four-star hotel. 

Within two or three months, said the entrepreneur, earthwork shall be started and the unit will enter into operation between 2020 and 2021. The installed capacity of the unit will be gradually occupied, following demand growth for drugs of its portfolio - mainly cardiology, representing 50% of the sales, dermatology and gynecology. 

Of the total to be invested, said Marques, 40% will come from their own resources and 60% from financing, of Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) and other sources. “Most part of expenditure shall occur in 2019”, he stated. Today the biggest manufacturing site of Biolab is in Jandira, dedicated to production of non-hormonal solid drugs. There, the laboratory has just invested more than R$ 50 million in a manufacturing plant of gelatin capsules, with operations expected to begin in August.

In the manufacturing plant of Taboão da Serra, the pharmaceutical company produces solid and hormonal injectable products. The unit of Bragança Paulista, on the other hand, is focused on production of functional, semisolid and liquid food. Biolab is also a partner of Eurofarma in Orygen, which will produce monoclonal antibodies in São Carlos (SP). 

In addition to a research and development site in Itapecerica da Serra (SP), which counts on 100 professionals, Biolab has a research and development site in Toronto, Canada, with opening scheduled for next month. “The first step is opening the research site in Canada, with production of dossier to meet regulatory authorities of United States and Europe. The second step is the certification of the new manufacturing plant”, Marques explained.

For 2017, Biolab turnover is expected to grow 8% to 10%, which realized, as a crisis effect, the change to drug packages with a smaller number of units. “We also see this change to smaller-ticket products”, he added. 

Even so, the decision was to apply the investment in the new manufacturing plant, once pharmaceutical market is more resistant than other areas and the industry has long cycles. For this year, national drug market is expected to grow 8%. When questioned about the possibility to go shopping, the entrepreneur commented that quality pharmaceutical assets in the country are expensive. “We want to grow organically”, he affirmed.

Last year, the brothers Castro Marques (Cleiton, Paulo and Fernando) ended a legal dispute related to cross ownership in Biolab and União Química. While Cleiton and Paulo own Biolab, Fernando assumed on his own the control of União Química.
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