Boehringer Ingelheim bets bigger on respiratory drugs

With respiratory drugs helping to fuel its earnings and new ones in the pipeline, Boehringer Ingelheim is again upping capacity for its Respimat Soft inhalers that the FDA last year approved for use.

The company will put €85 million ($110 million) into an expansion of the plant in Dortmund, Germany, allowing it to turn out 44 million inhalers by 2015. The expansion will add about 100 jobs to the more than 450 already working there. The inhalers are filled at the company's headquarters operation in Ingelheim and released for global distribution.

The news follows an earnings report in August in which the company said sales were up nearly 7% in the first 6 months of 2012 to €7.1 billion ($9.3 billion). It said revenue was driven in large part by its respiratory drugs Spiriva and Combivent, and by its blood thinner Pradaxa. Spiriva is projected by EvaluatePharma to be one of the biggest sellers of 2012 with estimated worldwide sales of $4.49 billion.

And Boehringer expects respiratory drugs to continue to fuel growth. The company in July grabbed the global rights from the U.K.'s Funxional Therapeutics to FX125L, a small molecule respiratory drug that is in mid-stage development for inflammatory diseases.  

This is the second expansion in Dortmund. Just two years ago, the company completed an expansion which then doubled production to 20 million inhalers. The €70 million ($90.6 million) expansion, opened in 2010, added 12,000 square meters and added 150 jobs.

- here's the release

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