Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG says it plans to invest $500 million in Russia over a five-year period.

Novartis says the investment will include the construction of a drug production plant in the western city of St. Petersburg as well as research and development partnerships with local companies.

The Basel-based company says construction of the plant starts in 2011. It will be used to produce 1.5 billion generic and proprietary drugs each year when completed.

Novartis says the investment is one of the biggest it has ever made in local manufacturing.

Shares in the company rose 0.4 percent to 56.95 Swiss francs ($58.85) on the Zurich exchange during early trading on Monday.

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