The new facility will require DKK 200–300 million (around USD 35–50 million) in investments during 2009–2010. It is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2011 and will employ approximately 95 employees. The facility will be able to deliver products of pharmaceutical grade (Q7) as required by regulatory authorities for the production of pharmaceuticals across most of the world.

“The strategic decision to build this new facility was based on a thorough market review and the increasing demand for our bHA product HyaCare®,” comments Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President, Novozymes. "Regulators are ever more cautious with regard to the safety of products and so a facility that is capable of delivering pharmaceutical-grade hyaluronic acid is an essential part of our strategy in bringing HyaCare forward for use in medical device and pharmaceutical applications. China was an obvious choice as we already have a world-class manufacturing operation there with more than 20 years experience. This site will also facilitate expansion as business opportunities develop.”

For use in eye care, drug delivery and many other applications

Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in humans and animals, and has a well-documented ability to bind water. It is widely used in medical device applications such as contact lens cleaning and there is research into its use in the delivery of anticancer drugs, tissue engineering, and bone regeneration.

Traditionally, hyaluronic acid has been derived from rooster combs or from strains of streptococcal bacteria, which are known to be pathogenic. Novozymes has developed animal-free hyaluronic acid using a safe, nonpathogenic fermentation method. Furthermore, Novozymes’ technology and process result in a high-quality bHA product, without the use of organic solvents.

Preparing for future expansion

When building the bHA facility, Novozymes will include preparatory steps for potentially establishing a cluster of facilities at the site intended to produce bulk active pharmaceuticals and ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry. This preparation will facilitate a stepwise expansion as business opportunities develop and are confirmed.

The groundbreaking ceremony takes place on site today and will be attended by Tianjin government officials, media, and senior Novozymes staff.