Aesica invests $48M in U.K. plant to make diabetes drugs

Aesica, the U.K.-based contract manufacturer, has a new plant going online but one with a very specialized purpose. The facility at its Queenborough, Kent, site is all about manufacturing drugs for Type 2 diabetes.

The manufacturer said today it has invested £30 million ($48.3 million) in the 10,000-square-meter facility dedicated to produce solid dose drugs for diabetes. Aesica expects the new plant to be operational in November. According to Manufacturing Chemist Pharma, the plant will have 55 employees. The construction of the plant allows for doubling the capacity in the future.

Standard & Poor's has estimated the annual market for diabetes medications of all kinds will hit $58 billion by 2018, from about $35 billion today. There are a host of drugmakers building up capacity to sell into that growth. Sanofi ($SNY) is gearing up for commercial production at an insulin plant in Russia which it bought in 2010 from a Polish company. Eli Lilly ($LLY) earlier this year decided to double down on a new plant it's building to produce diabetes drugs. It's kicking in $180 million on top of the $140 million investment it announced last year for the plant in its hometown of Indianapolis. That will not only allow it to add another line for insulin-filled cartridges, but also to expand an ingredient plant in the city.

But not every bet is a winner in this field, even in manufacturing. A court-appointed receiver this month offered up the equipment and even some patents from a failed diabetes drug operation in Greenwood, IN. The equipment and intellectual property are the remnants of a $28 million project started by Elona Biotechnologies to produce insulin biosimilars. The town of Greenwood invested more than $8 million in the endeavor in hopes of getting some good jobs for its citizens, but then foreclosed on the property when the three-year-old project stalled.

- here's the announcement
- read more from Manufacturing Chemist Pharma

Special Report: 10 Top-selling Diabetes Drugs - 2012