AstraZeneca Plans $1.5B Plant in Singapore to Make Cancer Drugs Amidst Supply Chain Concerns

AstraZeneca Plc plans to build a $1.5 billion manufacturing facility in Singapore to make antibody-drug conjugates as the U.K. drugmaker pushes to beef up its ability to produce the next-generation cancer treatments.

The plant will be Astra’s first drug-conjugate facility to produce the medicines from start to finish, the company said in a statement Monday. It’s scheduled to open in 2029 and will emit zero carbon from the start. 

Chief Executive Officer is working to ensure Astra can independently supply drugs to major markets as the U.S. pushes to reduce the industry’s reliance on China. Shortages during the pandemic also underscored the need for local production.

“We’re organizing ourselves so we can supply the U.S. and Europe independently,” Soriot said in March on the sidelines of the Bo’ao Forum for Asia.

U.K. rival GSK Plc opened a in Singapore in 2022 to produce a key ingredient for antibody drug conjugates.

Astra shares were little changed in early trading in London. They have gained 14% so far this year, less than GSK’s. 

Antibody-drug conjugates have become an important part of Astra’s cancer push, showing the promise to eventually replace conventional chemotherapy for some patients. They work by ferrying the active ingredient directly to the cancer cells, aiming to spare healthy ones.

The plant represents a “strong show of confidence in Singapore’s biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and talent,” said Png Cheong Boon, who chairs the Singapore Economic Development Board.