Sanofi plant in London set to close by end of month

A Sanofi ($SNY) plant in London that has been slated for closure has manufactured its last batch of drugs. Its equipment will be pulled out and moved to plants in Germany and Italy, and most of its 450 workers are set to lose their jobs by the end of the month.

The Dagenham, U.K., plant is one of a number of plants that Sanofi identified for closure in a 2009 sweep to reduce expenses by €1.2 billion. It will precede the closing in 2015 of a plant in Fawdon where Sanofi makes the blockbuster bloodthinner Plavix and other drugs for the U.K. and Europe. Plavix lost its patent and sales of the blockbuster have been falling off rapidly. Sanofi has been closing operations elsewhere around the world as a number of drugs fall off patent.

Sanofi has indicated, however, that while the 80-year-old Dagenham plant is done as a manufacturing facility, it may have some life left in it. The French drugmaker says it hopes to remake the Dagenham facility with its laboratory space and specialty buildings into a business park targeted at biopharma operations, reports. "A core part of Sanofi's project was to leave behind a legacy that brings new business and skilled jobs to the area," Sanofi spokesman Paul Smith tells the publication.

It is similar to the approach Pfizer ($PFE) took when it sold an R&D facility in Sandwich, Kent, to a consortium of investors. Pfizer has kept about 650 people there and the site is now being marketed to biotech operations.

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