Pfizer plans to invest $350 million in a facility for biotechnology drugs in Hangzhou, China, which will manufacture biologics and biosimilars.

Biologics are complex medicines made from living organisms, such as vaccines, allergencis, gene therapy, blood and blood components, and recombinant therapeutic proteins.

Biosimilars, on the other hand, are similar versions of biologic drugs that are manufactured by a different company. These products undergo complex manufacturing processes and require greater precision than generic drugs, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Without mentioning a specific medicine, the New York-based pharmaceutical company said the products from the new plant would target major public health concerns such as cancer. It will include logistics and engineering operations, clinical-stage development operations, and commercial-scale biologics manufacturing, c&en reported.

“We believe that the Pfizer Global Biotechnology Center in Hangzhou will help support China’s aim to increase the complexity and value of its manufacturing sector by 2025 and contribute to building a truly innovative and vibrant biopharmaceutical industry,” said John Young, president of Pfizer Essential Health.

The Hangzhou facility is Pfizer’s third biological plant and its first in Asia and is expected to open in 2018. In April, Merck & Co, launched a new research and development centre in Beijing, while Novartis introduced a $1-billion campus in Shanghai this month.

In China, biologics account for 4 percent of medicines prescribed in the country, compared with 22 percent in the United States, according to Pfizer.

Last year, the Chinese government released guidelines for biologics manufacturing. It also led a campaign to cut drug prices that dampened sales in the country’s pharmaceutical industry, in addition to a slowing economy.

Although these two events led to weaker sales growth for drugmakers operating in China, multinationals still continue to invest in the country, where a growing middle class is increasing spending on healthcare.

“China is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical markets in the world, and the ongoing China healthcare reform will continue to drive the expansion of China’s pharmaceutical industry, including research and development,” Pfizer told Bloomberg in an email.  MIMS