Sanofi sets in motion expansion at U.K. inhaler plant

Several years ago, Sanofi ($SNY) added more than three dozen employees to its inhaler plant in the U.K. as it took on work for SkyePharma. About the same time, it filed plans for a plant expansion. Now it intends to act on those.

The French drugmaker has asked local authorities in Cheshire to let it start work on a project, first outlined in 2012, which will include taking down one building and expanding another, Insider Media reports.

Citing local planning documents, the publication said Sanofi is seeing increased demand for its inhalation products, including more contract work. It said it needs to make sure that over the next 5 years it has the capacity to produce more. The documents also say that the drugmaker expects once up and running, it is going to need "means a significant increase in the number of personnel working on the facility."

Sanofi folks did not respond to a request for more details and the application does not name the clients. In 2012, Sanofi added about 40 people to the the location as part of its licensing arrangement with SkyePharma for its asthma treatment Flutiform. Sanofi got marketing rights to the drug in Mexico, Central and South America. SkyePharma invested £5 million ($7.8 million) for the production infrastructure for the drug at the plant.

Of course, another Sanofi partner is Mannkind ($MNKD), developer of the inhaled insulin Afrezza. Even though sales of the drug have been tepid--half of what analysts forecast at €1 million--Mannkind in July said it was adding two filling lines that would allow it to produce more Afrezza powder for a new 12-unit dosage. It said the powder, enough for 300 million cartridges a year, would be shipped to Sanofi.

- read the Insider Media story

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