Sanofi expands production at Merial plant in Brazil

Sanofi ($SNY) has made a big investment in Brazil, buying the nation's largest generics manufacturer, Genfar, in 2012 to get a stronger foothold not only in human drugs but also in animal health. It's now expanding its manufacturing operations there for its Merial animal health operation.

Merial announced this week that it will invest $25 million to expand a plant in Paulínia, Brazil, to increase the production of Nexgard, the chewable flea and tick treatment for dogs that it introduced this year. It has already launched it in the U.S., Europe and Japan but is preparing for a global rollout. The plant in Paulínia will make products for 100 countries.

With this investment, Merial will triple the current manufacturing capacity to include 1,950 square meters of additional production space and add new equipment. It intends to have the work completed by early next year. It also plans to add 85 jobs as a result, bringing its total workforce to more than 450, said Jorge Espanha, country manager of Merial for Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. "Merial is currently the largest exporter of veterinary products in Brazil," he said in a statement.

Merial CEO and Sanofi EVP Carsten Hellmann said in the statement, "The expansion of our manufacturing facility in Paulínia, Brazil, is an important part of our global business and manufacturing strategy."

The company claims the Merial manufacturing operation in Paulínia is one of the largest, fully dedicated animal health production sites in the southern hemisphere. Its products include both pharmaceutical and biological production with multipurpose products and technologies. It is one of 18 facilities Merial has in 9 countries. Merial is currently the third largest animal health company in the world with 2013 global revenues of $2.73 billion.

- here's the release

Special Report: Top 10 animal health companies of 2013 - Merial