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Indonesia's Kalbe Farma has high-tech ambitions

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A worker shows off pills produced at a Kalbe Farma plant in Cikarang, on the outskirts of Jakarta.   © Reuters

JAKARTA Indonesia's largest pharmaceutical company, Kalbe Farma, is transforming itself from a maker of generic drugs to a high-tech pharma developer. Its two-year-old cancer drug plant has begun reaping results, and Kalbe is stepping up research and development of stem cell therapy products.

Kalbe's 3,800-sq.-meter factory in East Jakarta now produces 13 drugs for chemotherapy, including 10 cancer-fighting drugs and three supplementary medications. Half can be used to treat breast cancer, the most common form of the disease in Indonesia and the one blamed for the most deaths among women.

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