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AstraZeneca to build production facility in China for COPD inhaler Breztri

AstraZeneca plans to build a manufacturing facility in Qingdao, China, to produce its Breztri aerosol inhalant COPD treatment, which was recently added to the country’s National Reimbursement Drug List.

AZ made the announcement (Chinese) during a meeting with local municipal officials, though details regarding the cost, size and completion date weren’t disclosed.

Additionally, the company said it will set up a regional headquarters in Qingdao and establish an innovation center focused on rare diseases as part of its efforts to promote biomedical innovation in the country.

“AstraZeneca’s investment in the Qingdao production and supply base aims to better meet the huge demand of patients for Breztri inhalation aerosols,” Wang Lei, an AstraZeneca executive vice president, said in a statement.

China’s National Medical Products Administration approved Breztri (budesonide/glycopyrronium/formoterol fumarate) for the maintenance and treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in late 2019.

News of the Qingdao project comes a little more than six months after AstraZeneca was taken to task by China’s healthcare fund watchdog over alleged fraud.

The probe, which resulted in arrests, centered on allegations that some of the company’s staff in China tampered with genetic testing results of cancer patients in order to defraud medical insurance funds. The incident triggered a nationwide campaign by the Ministry of Public Security against fraud that involved genetic testing results.

Among global pharma giants, AstraZeneca has the largest presence in China. The company has counted on the China market to deliver growth for years, but execs have recently flagged a slowdown that’s playing out.