BASEL, Switzerland ( TheStreet) - Novartis ( NVS), the Swiss pharmaceutical company, plans to build a new, full-scale drug manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, part of a five-year plan to invest $500 million in the country.

The St. Petersburg plant is expected to manufacture both high quality branded generics as well as pharmaceuticals. The plant is expected to produce about 1.5 billion units a year.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2011, Novartis said in a press release Monday.

The investment, Novartis said, is expected to be one of its largest in local manufacturing.

Novartis also said it has committed to double its investments in drug development in clinical trials in Russia and expects to enroll about 4,000 individuals by 2013.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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