Boehringer Ingelheim opens inhaler plant with 200 jobs

Boehringer Ingelheim has beefed up Respimat production in Spain and Germany to meet the demand for its respiratory drugs including Stiolto and Spiriva. (Boehringer Ingelheim)

Boehringer Ingelheim’s sales of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drugs may be flagging, but they still remain substantial and require millions of inhalers to deliver them. To provide for that, the company has opened a new inhaler plant in Spain soon after adding production lines to plants in Germany, expansions that bring its recent investments in the Respimat inhaler to about €225 million.

The €120 million facility in Barcelona has a capacity of up to 25 million Respimat inhalers and comes with 200 new jobs, according to an announcement (Spanish). The plant, which was fast-tracked, was started in 2017 and includes a host of technologies such as robotics.

The new plant opens just two months after the German drugmaker also brought on new lines to make inhalers at its sites in Dortmund and Ingelheim in Germany. It invested €105 million in those expansions.  

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“The volume of the investment and further development of Respimat demonstrate Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term commitment to combating serious respiratory diseases,” country manager Dr. Sabine Nikolaus said in a statement at the time.  

Boehringer uses the inhaler for its branded respiratory drugs Spiriva, Stiolto, Striverdi, Combivent and Berodual. The newest version of its inhaler is reusable, allowing patients to exchange cartridges, a feature the company says makes the devices better for the environment.

Boehringer's top line has taken a hit as generics have whittled away at revenues of blockbuster Spiriva in 2018. The respiratory med saw sales deflate an adjusted 11.4% to €2.4 billion ($2.71 million), the company reported in April.