Sanofi U.K. plant benefits from SkyePharma progress

The U.K.'s SkyePharma turned in an impressive second quarter with a 58% jump in sales--and that is good news for a Sanofi plant that manufacturers the company's key product, asthma drug Flutiform.

Sanofi ($SNY) is a partner with SkyePharma on Flutiform, as are Mundipharma and Kyorin. Sanofi last year added about 40 people to its operation in Holmes Chapel, U.K., to produce the product for the group. SkyePharma invested £5 million ($7.8 million) for the production infrastructure.

But according to today's earnings report, the partners will invest another £2 million ($3.12 million) to £3 million ($4.67 million) per year over the next three years to scale up manufacturing as sales of the drug increase, and that is exactly what's happening. SkyePharma decided against seeking FDA approval but is now approved in 21 countries in Europe, as well as in Australia and Hong Kong. Sanofi is expected to begin seeking approvals in Latin America. SkyePharma still reported a small loss, £1.7 million ($2.65 million), but that was less than the £2.6 million ($4.05 million) it reported in its first quarter. Sales hit £31.3 million ($48.77 million).

SkyePharma turned to Sanofi to produce the drug after cutting back its own manufacturing operations to save money. It leased a plant in Lyon, France, to a contract manufacturer. It also has plant in Switzerland it's trying to sell that it closed several years ago. It is carrying it on its books at a value of £4.2 million ($6.54 million).

- here's the earnings report