New jobs coming as Pharma giant AstraZeneca expands in Australia

By on
AstraZeneca product
The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on a medication package in a pharmacy in London April 28, 2014. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has invested $100 million for hi-tech Australian innovation at its site in Sydney. The move will boost exports of its asthma product to over $2.4 billion and will add jobs in Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot in London on Tuesday night. The news was announced during their meeting.

“Our latest investment is an example of the tremendous opportunities presented by hi-tech manufacturing and productivity, creating jobs, boosting exports and ultimately making a positive impact on the Australian economy,” The Australian quotes Soriot as saying. The funding would back three specialised production lines at the North Ryde facility.  The investment would create at least 60 jobs.

AstraZeneca Australia

AstraZeneca Australia manufacturing director Mark Morgan said that the company’s forecast, which looked out to a decade, indicates strong growth. He stated it is specifically true in the Chinese market.

According to Morgan, the demand for asthma product is huge, specifically for kids in China. He added they see the trend continuing.

Morgan said the company chooses to expand in Australia despite the trend for manufacturing businesses to move to countries with lower labour costs with AstraZenecs investing with locally manufactured equipment. He pointed out the company’s commitment in Australia is mainly because of the local technology.

Specialist machine designers Andrew-Donald Design Engineering, who are based in Melbourne, will build each new production line. The new specialised production lines add up to the eight existing specialised lines already existing.

Every production line can produce more than 70 million units of Pulmicort Respules annually. Pulmicort Respules, which is produced here for export market, is a medicine for patients with asthma.

By 2025, it is expected that AstraZeneca’s site will produce more than one billion respules. Morgan said the company’s manufacturing model was based on hi-tech production that was not easy to replicate. He said the machinery is a credit to Australian engineering excellence. Its performance, according to Morgan, can be attributed to the Aussie workforce that achieves significant increases in efficiency and productivity out of the machines.

Furthermore, Morgan stated that collaboration and policy stability with the government were keys to future investments. “The investments we make are for a long term, perhaps longer than government terms are, so certainty around those policy frameworks are critical to us,” he said, adding there have been incentive schemes before that resulted to increased capital investment in the country.

Read More:

Best state for business in Australia revealed

How a Melbourne startup doubles staff numbers in 12 months

Al Jazeera English/YouTube