AstraZeneca has opened a new drug manufacturing and packaging facility in Kaluga, Russia.

The biopharmaceutical company said it has invested $224 million in the new plant, which will produce medicines for the local market.

Commercial production is scheduled to start early next year, with a focus on final-stage manufacturing, packaging and quality control.

When the site becomes fully operational in 2017, it will produce about 40 million packs and 850 million tablets of around 30 different medicines every year. More than 60 percent of the medicines sold by AstraZeneca in Russia will be made at the new plant.

The factory represents the largest foreign investment made into any pharmaceutical facility in Russia.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “Our new dedicated production facility will support our efforts to bring innovative medicines from our exciting pipeline to patients in Russia. This opening builds on our investments in clinical research and scientific collaborations in this important country and serves to reinforce our long-term commitment to Russia.”

The British-Swedish company currently employs more than 1,400 people in Russia, working across commercial, manufacturing, scientific and clinical research and enabling functions.

Other pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis and Novo Nordisk have also announced plans to increase their investment in production and research in Russia, Pharmaceutical Business Review reported.

For AstraZeneca, the new plant expands its global manufacturing capabilities to support a growing portfolio of medicines and increasing demand. Earlier this year the company acquired a new site in Boulder, Colo., and announced plans to invest in biologics manufacturing in Sweden.