Abbott divisional vice-president (global operations) Diane M Beno said the plant, scheduled to start operations in 2015, would produce one million sets of IOL annually.
“The first products will be available in the second half of 2016. “The facility, located on a 21.6 acre site, will supply to the global IOL market,” she said.
Beno said about 22.7 million cataract surgeries performed worldwide in 2014, which was expected to grow 27.1 million by 2019.
“This growth will be driven primarily by the aging of the global population and the increasing worldwide demand for IOLs.
“Most cataract procedures are performed in 22 countries, each with more than 100,000 cataract surgeries per year, including Malaysia where about 105,000 surgeries are projected in 2014,” Beno said at a press conference after the ground-breaking ceremony for the new plant in KHTP by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
She said the same technology used currently to produce Abbott’s IOLs would also be employed at the new state-of-the-art facility in Malaysia.
“This is to ensure a level of quality equivalent to IOLs manufactured at the company’s other manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico and The Netherlands,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mukhriz said the fourth phase of KHTP measuring 164ha would be ready next month, increasing the size of the technology park to 1,780ha. “We already have some well known overseas companies interested to invest in this new phase,” he added.
On the sale of Silterra to a China-based semiconductor player, Mukhriz said he hoped that the wafer fabrication facility would remain Malaysian-owned.
“The plant is focused on new technologies, which will allow Silterra to tap into new trends of technological firms worldwide, allowing Malaysians to innovate for the global market,” he said.
Since the establishment of KHTP, the technology park has roped in RM34bil of foreign investment into Malaysia.
“The numbers will be constantly increased, of course, with some other investments from new tenants in KHTP,” he said.
Mukhriz said KHTP was set to expand another 2,830ha.