Gov. Martin O'Malley and Tasly Group Chairman Yan Xijun at the company ceremony in Shanghai, China.
Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has just begun a 10-day economic mission to Asia, attended the ceremony at the Tasly Group headquarters in Shanghai, China.
O'Malley is traveling with a delegation of 70 academic and business representatives from Maryland. The trip includes stops in Beijing and Nanjing in China, as well as Korea and Vietnam.
The company says the money will go to build a half-million square-foot production and training facility at Montgomery County's Shady Grove Life Sciences Center. The facility is slated to finish in six months.
"For Maryland this is the largest direct investment that we've ever seen by a Chinese company," says O'Malley.
Speaking through a translator, Tasly Group Chairman Yan Xijun says over the next three years, the facility will employ 150 white-collar workers.
"And the functions will be research, applications for regulatory approval, packaging, as well as to prepare for educational activities," says Yan.
The company will be marketing a compound called Danshen Dripping Pills said to inhibit angina by driving blood and oxygen to the heart's blood vessels.
After exchanging gifts and compliments with Chairman Yan, O'Malley said he could be a candidate for the preventative drug.
"I don't have angina yet, but I did inherit an Irish heart, which is very prone – in our family anyway – resulting in short life spans for the males, so I could well take it," says O'Malley.
The pills, marketed in 15 countries as a drug and in 32 others as a dietary supplement, are already bringing in $154 million in annual sales for the company, and are now in phase three of the FDA approval process.