This article was written by Norman De Bono, Journalist at the London Free Press and originally appears in the LFP on June 18, 2020.
London will be home to a drug manufacturer’s world headquarters.
Anvo Laboratories, now a drug distributor in Oakville, will open a pharmaceutical business making generic drugs here, said owner and founder Tam Vo.
Kapil Lakhotia, president of the LEDC, (left) and Mark Henderson, director of industrial land development strategy with city hall, at the future site of ANVO Pharma on Bonder Road in London, Ont. on Wednesday June 17, 2020. Photo credit: Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network.
Anvo has bought or optioned 3.6 hectares of land in the city’s Advanced Manufacturing Park and will employ about 30 when it begins production in 2022, he added.
“I am from Saigon, Vietnam, and came to Canada years ago and I love this country. I want to do something here,” said Vo.
He looked at possible sites across Ontario and settled on London, citing the availability of workers from Western University and Fanshawe College, value in buying land and construction and a strong industrial and health-care business sector it can work with.
“We checked many communities across Ontario and we found a lot of good things about London and area,” said Vo.
Anvo bought one parcel and has an option on another for possible future growth, for a total of 3.6 hectares. The 30,000 sq. ft. (2,800 square metre) plant will be at Boyd Court and Bonder Road.
“This is huge. They will export around the world and London will be their world headquarters,” said Mayor Ed Holder.
City council approved the land sale to Anvo Tuesday.
Politicians also approved sale of another 1.6 hectares in Innovation Park to building products maker Dionas Metals, which is relocating from Kitchener. The small metal products manufacturer employs about 10.
“Life sciences industries are a major area of focus for London . . . our land costs are competitive, we have a huge manufacturing base in the city and this is a natural extension of that,” Holder said of Anvo.
Anvo, with offices in Vietnam and Ontario, hopes to begin construction this year and open a research and development office here by summer 2021. Drug production will begin in summer 2022, specializing in generic heart disease and diabetes medications in tablet, capsule and injectible form.
“Post-COVID, it will be important for London to build capacity in the health-care sector, to ramp up in health care,” said Kapil Lakhotia, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp., which worked with Anvo to bring them to London.
“It was interesting to work with them in a COVID period, showing them sites using a drone.”
Anvo is already planning second and third phases of construction and growth if the market demands it.
“We are going to have our own research and development here, scientists will be working here in production,” said ANVO vice-president Mukesh Sareen. “We will sell into the U.S, Europe and African countries. We will export 85 per cent of what we manufacture,” with about 15 per cent for the Canadian market.