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AbbVie to build manufacturing plant in Singapore

Feb 5 (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker AbbVie Inc on Wednesday said it will spend $320 million to set up a manufacturing facility in Singapore to produce new drugs for cancer and immunology now in development.

The plant, which is expected to become fully operational in 2019 and add about 250 jobs, will mark the company's first manufacturing presence in Asia. AbbVie has research facilities in Tokyo and Shanghai.

AbbVie's existing presence in Singapore includes 120 personnel supporting commercial operations, global R&D and general operations, the company said.

"Our presence in Singapore will help assure geographic balance and continuity of product supply as well as increased capacity to deliver on our growing biologics and small molecule product pipeline," Azita Saleki-Gerhardt, AbbVie's senior vice president for operations, said in a statement.

AbbVie's current manufacturing network includes 12 sites across the United States, Europe and Puerto Rico, as well as strategic partnerships with third-party manufacturers, the company said.

AbbVie's top product, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira, is the world's top selling drug with annual sales of about $12 billion.

The company has experimental drugs for hepatitis C, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases in its developmental pipeline.