BIOCAD to set up manufacturing facility in Finland

The Russian biotechnology company will invest an initial €25 million in establishing the facility.

BIOCAD in May announced it will invest a minimum of €25 million in establishing a new manufacturing facility in Turku, Finland, and launch research co-operation with the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University.


The manufacturing facility and co-operation agreement will enable the biotechnology company to launch its exhaustive portfolio of chemical and biological drugs for cancers and autoimmune diseases – such as melanoma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and renal cell carcinoma – in Europe.


Finland is an excellent platform for the St. Petersburg, Russia-headquartered company to begin its expansion to Europe, affirms Olga Makeeva, a senior advisor at Finpro’s Invest in Finland.


“Finland was selected as the location for the manufacturing facility because of its close proximity and ease of setting up a business. Finland has in this respect a major competitive advantage over other countries in Europe,” she explains.


Invest in Finland, she reveals, provided the biotechnology company with information on a number of possible locations as well as on the competitive assets and business opportunities they offer. BIOCAD was so impressed with the business environment that it scrapped its initial plan of only setting up a packaging centre and began considering establishing a greater presence in Finland.


Turku’s co-operation possibilities key for BIOCAD

Turku was ultimately selected as the base for the expansion for two reasons: its expertise and traditions in pharmaceutical development and the commitment of the local administration.


“The Turku region has a skills cluster consisting of businesses and universities with leading expertise in the life sciences industry,” Dmitri Morozov, the chief executive of BIOCAD, commented after signing the co-operation agreement on 23 May, 2017.


“The possibility to co-operate on cancer-related research and other scientific projects was a key reason for us to set up in Turku.”


The co-operation agreement will consolidate the position of the city as a leading hub for life sciences innovation in Finland, stated Aleksi Randell, the Mayor of Turku. The region, he highlighted, accounts for roughly a half of all pharmaceutical revenues generated in the country, while its life sciences sector accounts for roughly a fifth of the manufacturing jobs in the region.


Makeeva points out that the local administration has invested considerably in promoting the growth of the life sciences cluster.


“Turku really has a unique cluster,” she tells. “It’s home to many of the leading research and development companies in Finland. Turku Science Park, the local community of businesses and research centres, has been particularly active in providing great opportunities to a variety of businesses, including start-ups.”


"The possibility to co-operate on research was a key reason to set up in Turku."

“The University of Turku is actively conducting research into innovative drugs. The entire research and production infrastructure is working extremely well also in other respects. Co-operation between various parties is very fluent and it’s easy to find partners, sub-contractors and other collaborators with excellent contacts abroad,” she adds.


Makeeva believes the case is an example of also another emerging trend: Russia has a growing number of innovative companies with the potential to successfully enter the more challenging markets in Europe. BIOCAD also impressed her colleagues at Turku Science Park who praise BIOCAD for its straightforward business processes and its ability to make quick decisions.


“Russia’s economy is no longer only about oil and gas,” tells Makeeva.