In 2018, we invested in a cell culture facility in South Korea, a manufacturing and distribution center in India, and a facility to accelerate Mobius® single-use manufacturing in China. With these new locations, an investment of € 40 million, we are responding to growing demand from the biotech industry in Asia.
We reached an agreement to sell our Con-sumer Health business to Procter & Gamble for a cash purchase price of approximately € 3.4 billion. Consumer Health transferred to P&G on December 1. This is a further step in our strategic orientation toward innovation-driven businesses.
This year offered a good reason to celebrate in Darmstadt together with 900 guests from politics, business and industry. During this anniversary year, we looked to the future as well as the past. For instance, we opened a new innovation center in Darmstadt that provides more space for smart projects outside of our existing business areas. Throughout 2018, we also held a number of other anniversary events around the world.
We announced a partnership with Tongji University in Shanghai. As a member of our CRISPR Core Partnership Program, we will provide the university exclusive access to our genome-editing technology and comprehensive technical support.
To significantly improve the lives of 40 million patients in China by 2025 is an ambitious goal. We have teamed up with Internet healthcare company Alibaba Health to meet this challenge. The collaboration aims to provide Chinese patients with improved access to healthcare services via a health platform that will start out by tracking drugs for patients with diabetes, thyroid disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
We are complementing our OLED positions in Asia with a new OLED technology center in Shanghai – in addition to the existing ones in Korea and Taiwan. Working as a local partner with our customers, we intend to drive innovations forward for the display industry and bring them to market faster.
To secure the future prospects of Performance Materials, we have launched the transformation program Bright Future with the aim of further expanding our position as a leading supplier of solutions for the electronics industry. After 2019, the average annual sales growth of Performance Materials is expected to be between 2% and 3% again, with Semiconductor Solutions as a significant driver of this growth.
We are launching the “Future Insight Prize”, with an award of up to € 1 million annually for groundbreaking scientific work. Over the next 35 years, we’ll be awarding it to pro-mote innovations in the areas of health, nutrition and energy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for filing the New Drug Application for cladribine tablets as a potential treatment for patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The FDA is examining whether cladribine tablets, a short-course oral treatment, can be used to treat patients in the United States. The proposed dosing is a maximum of 20 days of treatment over two years.
The phase III JAVELIN Renal 101 study evaluating Bavencio® and Pfizer’s Inlyta® compared with Sutent® as initial therapy for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma yielded positive top-line results. In February 2019 the FDA granted priority review to this therapy based on these interim results.
Since October 17, 2018, eight fully automated packaging lines and robotized logistics are up and running in the new packaging center, which covers a total area of 15,000 square meters. Here, medications from our current product portfolio are packaged and shipped to more than 90 countries. The new capacities help address rising patient demand for our primary products Glucophage®, Concor® and Euthyrox® in the therapeutic areas diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders. Some € 63 million were invested in the construction of the new packaging center between 2015 and 2018.
We announced the plans to establish a new competence center for innovation in Guangzhou in Southern China scheduled to open September 2019. It will be located in the heart of a large biotechnology park where startups will conduct research in all three of our business sectors. To coincide with this, we will also start our three-month China Accelerator Program in 2019.
We want to advance cancer research. To that end, we intend to form a joint venture under the name Syntropy with software company Palantir Technologies. Syntropy will enable research centers to have access to a collaborative technology platform to drive forward cancer research, speed up scientific progress and improve people’s lives.
This result means that we have maintained our ranking since the index was last published in 2016. We are proud of our efforts to improve access to medicine and thus the health of underserved populations.