Sanofi expands biologics plant, adding 100 workers

Hand holding syringe containing green liquid
Syringe

Sanofi ($SNY) turned to Boehringer Ingelheim last year to get the added manufacturing capacity it figured it would need for a host of new monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) it was developing with partner Regeneron ($REGN). Now it has decided it needs to beef up its own biologics capacity to make sure it has the capacity for future products.

The French drugmaker said today it will invest about $340 million (€300 million) to expand its site in Geel, Belgium, which currently is dedicated to manufacturing Genzyme’s rare disease drug for treating Pompe disease. The footprint of the plant will be expanded by 8,000 square meters (86,111 square feet), which Sanofi said will give it the capacity to manufacture other products. The expansion includes new laboratories for quality control and manufacturing sciences. Sanofi spokesman Nicolas Kressmann said today that the company will add about 100 jobs to the facility when the new operations come online in mid-2017.  

Sanofi said it is getting an unspecified amount of financial support for the project from the government of Flanders and a couple of development agencies in the country.

"We have a robust development pipeline of biological molecules, including monoclonal antibodies, and this investment furthers our work and expertise in key disease areas,”  Philippe Luscan, president of Sanofi in France, said in a statement.  

A host of drugmakers have been adding significantly to their manufacturing networks to produce the cell-based drugs that make up many of the new meds being developed. Just last week, rare disease specialist Shire ($SHPG) said it would spend about $400 million on a new biologics plant in Ireland. But Sanofi said last year it would instead look to Boehringer Ingelheim with which it already had a manufacturing partnership for the extra capacity it needed.   

Then Boehringer, in turn, announced it would spend about €500 million ($550 million) to build a commercial-scale biopharmaceutical production facility in Vienna, Austria, to produce active ingredients using cell cultures for a host of companies. That plant is slated to open in 2021 and will need 400 employees when it comes online.

- here’s the release

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