German pharmaceutical giant Bayer plans to build a major new plant in Turku. It is also upgrading its current 30-year-old production facility in southwestern Finland.
According to the company, the EUR 250 million investment will strengthen Bayer’s footprint in Finland and Turku’s position "world contraceptive capital".
“One of our goals is to provide 100 million women in developing countries with access to modern contraception and family planning by the end of 2030,” said Miriam Holstein, CEO of Bayer Nordic on Thursday.
According to Bayer, Turku plays a significant role in the company’s global sustainability strategy, which includes measures to support gender equality and family planning.
"In this way, we can influence women’s health and social status, education and family size," said Holstein.
According to Holstein, Bayer’s goals are in line with the Finnish government’s strategy for Africa published in March.
"We have an ongoing dialogue with the Finnish government and our other stakeholders," he said.
Birth control from Turku to 130 countries
Bayer’s new plant is scheduled to become operational by 2025. It will be built on an existing building in the western Artukainen area of Turku, where Bayer already has operations.
"The current factory was established in the 1960s. Investments are also needed to modernize our existing plant," said Jennifer Hunt, Director of Bayer Product Service Center in Turku.
According to Hunt, Turku is Bayer’s global center of expertise and innovation in polymer-based pharmaceutical technology and long-acting contraceptives, and thus also one of Bayer’s most important pharmaceutical plants worldwide. Turku develops and manufactures long-acting contraceptives that are exported to more than 130 countries.
Bayer employs more than 1,000 people in Finland, mainly in Turku. Last year, it hired almost 150 new employees in Finland despite the pandemic.
"With the growing demand, we will also need a highly skilled workforce in the coming years," said Holstein.
A national drug development center is planned in Turku
"This investment will have multi-annual effects on the Finnish economy. It strengthens the vitality of the Turku region in these difficult times," Holstein said.
According to the City of Turku, almost 75 per cent of Finland’s pharmaceutical exports come from companies operating in the Turku area.
Preparations for the Turku National Drug Development Center have been underway for several years. In March, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced that it might be possible to set up the center as early as this year. However, no decisions have yet been taken.
Tom PaleniusThe interim CEO of Turku Science Park predicted that Bayer’s investments in Turku would contribute to the progress of the drug center.
"The establishment of a national drug development center in Turku is directly linked to Bayer," he told Yle.
"I sincerely hope that the long-running debate on the location and launch of the National Drug Development Center will gain even more momentum and that the latter will be pushed to the finish line," said Palenius.
Source: The Nordic Page