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Life-Science Healthcare News | June 2022

Germany's life sciences sector was the top medical device FDI destination in 2019 and 2020. Companies including Bayer and BioNTech are also expanding their footprint in the country.

Germany top destination for FDI in medical devices sector

Germany was the world’s leading FDI destination in the medical devices sector in 2019 and 2020 according to GlobalData reports Investment Monitor. The country ranked as the top global destination with around 20 percent of all projects announced or opened during the period. Switzerland, China and the US were the leading investment nations, with other investments coming from Austria, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Western Europe was the leading international region in terms of attracting medical device FDI projects in both years, securing in the region of 45 percent of all projects announced or opened.

Bayer invests EUR 2 billion in pharma production network

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer plans to invest around EUR 2 billion in production and supply chain capacity over the next three years. The Leverkusen-based group will allocate a significant share of the planned investment to expanding its biotechnology capacity – including production of cell and gene therapies. Bayer has high hopes for the nascent sector, having strengthened cell and gene therapy activities through a collaboration with a US-based gene modification specialist. The DAX-listed group sees Germany as an important production site for the future, having previously announced EUR 1.4 billion investment in technologies, new production facilities and digitalization at pharmaceutical production sites in Bergkamen, Berlin, Leverkusen, Weimar, and Wuppertal.

Pfizer opens EUR 300 million high-containment plant in Freiburg

Pfizer has opened its high-containment production facility at its site in Freiburg, making it one of the world’s most modern production facilities. Work on the EUR 300 million facility began in 2018, which will see production capacity increase to up to 12 billion tablets and capsules annually. Development and production times of highly potent drugs supplied to 150 countries will be significantly decreased. The company has described the investment in the intelligent factory as part of its commitment to the Freiburg site and to innovative medicines made in Germany.

Monkeypox vaccine available in sufficient quantities

Danish-German vaccine company Bavarian Nordic has claimed that it has sufficient production capacity to meet global demand for its monkeypox vaccine without increasing production facilities. The manufacturer believes that the vaccine – developed in Munich by German subsidiary in Martinsried – will be available in sufficient quantities during the current outbreak. The company is the only vaccine producer with a combination vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox approved in North America. The vector vaccine has been approved for the treatment of small pox in Europe since 2013, with an extension to monkeypox in planning according to the company. According to media reports, the German government has already ordered doses of the vaccine.

Saxony start-up first to deliver medical cannabis to government agency

A start-up based in Saxony has become the first German pharmaceutical company to deliver cannabis for medical use to the German Cannabis Agency. Demecan, based in Ebersbach in Saxony, is one of three producers growing cannabis on behalf of the government. Since 2017, cannabis has been available on prescription as a pain therapy for seriously ill patients. Demand is growing, with the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices recording more than 20 tons in cannabis flower and extract imports last year alone. Demecan reports that it currently produces just under 10,000 kilograms of medical cannabis annually, but foresees expanding production capacity to more than 10 tons of cannabis lower annually in the short term. The start-up is now hopeful for the planned legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes as foreseen in the coalition government agreement.

BioNTech to expand Marburg site

BiNTech has announced plans to increase staff numbers at its Marburg site in 2022 – creating 250 additional jobs. The company plans to invest EUR 50 million at the site it first secured from Novartis in order to expand its Covid-19 vaccine production capacities in 2020.

Chinese medical technology company opens Bremen subsidiary

Chinese medical equipment provider ECO Medical Instruments has opened a Bremen subsidiary operation. The company specializes in microwave ablation, a technique used to destroy tumor material for a number of conditions including liver, lung, bone, breast, and kidney tumors as well as thyroid nodules and varicose veins. Local economic development agency Bremeninvest provided set-up support to the Chinese company who selected the hanseatic city for its central location and good connections within the DACH region, Netherlands and Scandinavia.

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