Sanofi ($SNY) and Regeneron ($REGN) are hard at work on a number of promising monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), but Sanofi needs more manufacturing capacity to produce them. Instead of building its own like some of its peers, the French company has struck a deal to tap into a Boehringer Ingelheim plant in Germany.
Sanofi said today that early this year it will begin transferring and manufacturing mAbs at Boehringer Ingelheim's operation in Biberach an der Riss, Germany.
|Sanofi SVP Wolfram Carius|
"Boehringer Ingelheim is a highly capable and experienced partner to complement our continued alliance with Regeneron and the investments we are making in building our own internal capabilities as we prepare for a wave of potential new product launches in the coming years," Wolfram Carius, Sanofi senior vice president of biologics, said in a statement.
Among the mAb therapies Sanofi and Regeneron are developing is alirocumab, a next-generation cholesterol drug that's expected to debut this year and which is expected to hit peak sales of $1 billion. The drug will contend with offerings from Amgen ($AMGN) and Pfizer ($PFE) in the the nascent market of cutting bad cholesterol by blocking a gene called PCSK9. Behind that is sarilumab, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment that works by halting the IL-6 receptor to fight the inflammation. They also are working on dupilumab, an IL-4 and IL-13 antibody that in early studies beat back eczema and which Regeneron is also studying for treating asthma and nasal polyps.
Biologics are making up a growing piece of the pipelines at many drugmakers, which has led to a significant expansion of biologics manufacturing in the last several years. In quick succession last fall, Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Amgen and AstraZeneca ($AZN) all announced projects to expand biologics capacity. In 2013, Swiss drugmaker Roche ($RHHBY) started in on a multipronged $882 million effort to build a new biologics facility in Switzerland and expand plants in the U.S. and Germany.
- here's the Sanofi announcement
Special Reports: 10 top drugs in biopharma's late-stage pipeline - Alirocumab | The 10 best-selling drugs of 2013