Sanofi plots Irish plant investment to boost Lantus supply

Sanofi ($SNY) is plowing new money into Genzyme's Irish manufacturing site again, but this time, it's not about a legacy Genzyme drug. The €44 million ($59 million) investment will fit the plant out for Lantus, Sanofi's megablockbuster diabetes treatment.

Lantus is Sanofi's top-selling drug, and it's growing fast. In 2012, the drug brought in almost €5 billion ($6.7 billion), an increase of 19%. And now that the FDA has rejected a putative competitor from Novo Nordisk ($NVO)--Tresiba--Lantus stands to remain the world's biggest-selling insulin.

So, Sanofi needs to amp up production to keep pace with demand, the company says. The Irish plant is expected to start turning out Lantus for commercial use by 2016. It will join another plant in Frankfurt in producing the drug, the Irish Times reports.

The facility in Waterford, Ireland, now handles fill-and-finish for Genzyme's rare-disease drugs, such as Cerezyme and Fabrazyme. Sanofi bought Genzyme in 2011, and Lantus will be the first non-Genzyme drug made at the Irish plant, PharmaTimes reports.

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