Boehringer again doubling capacity at inhaler plant

German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim, whose respiratory drugs have helped propel earnings, is again preparing to double production at an inhaler plant in Dortmund, Germany.

The company said it will invest €85 million ($110 million) to expand the plant to be able to manufacture 44 million of its Respimat Soft inhalers by 2015. The enlarged operation will add about 100 jobs to the more than 450 already working there. The inhalers are then filled at the company's headquarters operation in Ingelheim and released for global distribution.

In an email to FiercePharmaManufacturing, Nicholas New at Boehringer Ingelheim said the expansion would add 2,500 square meters in clean-room area, 300 square meters in engineering and 300 square meters to the production area. Work has begun and the clean rooms will be complete by the middle of 2013 with production to begin in 2015. 

Just two years ago, the company completed an expansion which then doubled production to 20 million. While details of the newest project were not provided, the €70 million ($90.6 million) expansion opened in 2010 added 12,000 square meters to the plant and 150 jobs. That design included a high-tech bubble ceiling so production rooms could be column free.

Respiratory drugs have been good to Boehringer. In August, the company reported that sales in the first half of 2012 were up 6.8%, compared with €7.1 billion ($9.3 billion) last year. It said revenue was driven in large part by its respiratory drugs Spiriva and Combivent, and by its new blood thinner Pradaxa. The company is also beefing up its pipeline of respiratory drugs. The pharma company in July said it had picked up global rights to FX125L, a small molecule in mid-stage development for inflammatory diseases from the U.K.'s Funxional Therapeutics.

While the company is expanding in Germany, it recently announced it will shut down a 35-year-old API manufacturing facility at its three-plant complex in Petersburg, VA, by the middle of next year because it no longer needed the production.

- here's the release

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