NovartisNovartis held a groundbreaking ceremony to announce the start of construction of a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, Russia. The construction of this facility represents the most significant Novartis investment in Russia to date. This facility will further expand the company's capabilities to produce and deliver both innovative pharmaceuticals and high-quality generics to Russian patients.

The new greenfield facility will be built in the Novoorlovskaya Special Economic Zone (SEZ), located to the north of the St. Petersburg city center. Once completed and approved for commercial production, which is expected in 2014, the state of-the-art facility will use cutting-edge technologies to produce approximately 1.5 billion units per year. It will also be an attractive workplace for local talent, employing more than 350 highly qualified professionals who will have access to world-class training and development programs at Novartis.

"The establishment of the new Novartis manufacturing facility demonstrates our commitment to invest in the Russian healthcare infrastructure and to contribute to the long-term goals of improving healthcare in Russia, set by the government", said Joseph Jimenez, CEO, Novartis AG. "The plant in St. Petersburg is the latest step in our strategy to bring both innovative pharmaceuticals and low cost, high quality generics closer to patients and customers in Russia."

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, E. Nabiullina, Governor of St. Petersburg V. Matvienko, Novartis AG CEO Joseph Jimenez and other Novartis collaborators and key representatives from the Russian government and the Swiss embassy.

"Novartis decision to launch drug production in Saint-Petersburg is an outstanding example of a successful collaboration between Russia and foreign investors in the high-technology and innovation sphere, creating new job opportunities for local talent", said Valentina Matvienko, Governor of St. Petersburg. "We're looking forward to help Novartis in solving one of the key challenges on the government agenda - modernization of healthcare".

This facility is part of a USD 500 million five-year investment into Russian healthcare infrastructure announced by Novartis in December 2010. This comprehensive partnership addresses three core areas which are local manufacturing, R&D collaborations and public health development in Russia.

Novartis and its predecessors have been active in Russia since the 1860s, and today the company is one of the key players in the Russian pharmaceuticals market. Novartis currently employs over 2,000 professionals in Russia across all business divisions, spanning Pharmaceuticals, Alcon, Sandoz, Consumer Health and Vaccines & Diagnostics.

About Novartis
Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, consumer health products, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2010, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 50.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.1 billion (USD 8.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 119,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.