Sanofi again turns to Waterford plant for production solution

A Sanofi plant that benefited from problems at its Genzyme subsidiary in the past is benefiting from Sanofi's good fortune now. 

Sanofi ($SNY) in 2011 poured €150 million ($200.4 million) into the plant in Waterford, Ireland, to double capacity so it could fill and finish Genzyme drugs after the subsidiary had to close a U.S. plant for remediation. When Sanofi got FDA approval for the expanded use last year, the company said the long-term goal was to use the Waterford facility to do fill-finish "across its portfolio of products."

The French drugmaker is turning to Waterford again, this time to help it expand production of Lantus, Sanofi's top-selling product. It will invest €44 million ($59 million) in the facility to equip it to manufacture the world-leading, long-acting insulin. According to Pharma Times, that brings the total investment in the plant since 2011 to €500 million ($668.1 million). The operation, which employs more than 500, is expected to be producing Lantus by 2016. The Irish Times says the Waterford plant will be the secondary plant to one in Frankfurt, Germany.

Waterford is not the only facility to benefit from Genzyme having to close its plant in Allston, MA, to get a handle on contamination problems. To meet demands for a number of drugs affected by the closure, Sanofi built a new plant in Framingham, MA. That plant went online last year, allowing Sanofi to again meet demand for Fabrazyme, its treatment for the rare Fabry disease. The company has cited the additional Fabrazyme sales for boosting its top line.

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