Daiichi Sankyo opens first U.S. manufacturing plant

Daiichi Sankyo is taking control of another step in its supply chain in the U.S. by opening its first manufacturing and packaging plant in the country.

With FDA approval, the Japanese drugmaker is opening a 140,000-square-foot, $19 million plant in Bethlehem, PA. It will begin by packaging drugs for treatments including hypertension, heart disease and diabetes that are currently manufactured in Japan and Germany. But the plant will take on some work related to clinical trials, an executive tells Area Development, and by year-end expects to be formulating and manufacturing products.

Jeff Lane, the company's vice president of operations, tells The Star-Ledger that Daiichi Sankyo has been relying on contractors in Canada, Chicago and Philadelphia to package some of its medicines for the U.S. market, but needs to take control of manufacturing and packaging.

"Our overriding goal is to create these operations in each of our markets,'' Lane says.

The plant has about 40 workers now and will at least double to 80 as it cranks up production. 

Besides making its own drugs, the company owns a controlling interest in Ranbaxy Laboratories, the India-based generic drugmaker. After getting serious regulatory matters sorted out with the FDA this year, Ranbaxy has begun shipping product to North America from plants in India, including generic Lipitor.

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