Tipping the Scales in Manufacturing Investment - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Tipping the Scales in Manufacturing Investment
The pharmaceutical majors invest in biologics production capacity as they advance restructuring programs and build their pipelines


Pharmaceutical Technology



Table II: Top 50 pharmaceutical companies (Rankings 31–40)
In June 2008, the company acquired Sirtis Pharmaceutical (Cambridge, MA) for $720 million. Sirtis develops small-molecule drugs based on sirtuins, a class of enzymes believed to be involved in the aging process. In December 2007, GSK bought Reliant Pharmaceuticals (Liberty Corner, NJ) for $1.65 billion. The move gives GSK rights to the cardiovascular drug "Lovaza" (omega-3-acid ethyl esters). GSK also formed a drug-development pact with Santaris Pharma (Bøge Allé, Denmark). Santaris develops oligonucleotide drugs based on locked nucleic acid, a proprietary ribonucleic-acid analogue.

Sanofi-Aventis. Sanofi-Aventis made no major asset disposals in 2007, and its principal investments were by its vaccine subsidiary, Sanofi Pasteur (Lyon, France). In 2007, Sanofi Pasteur increased the capacity of its Lyon manufacturing facility by 4800 m2 . Sanofi Pasteur is constructing a formulation-and-filling facility in Val de Reuil, France, to boost filling capabilities, mainly for influenza vaccines. In 2007, Sanofi completed the construction of a new $150-million, 140,000-ft2 influenza vaccine-manufacturing facility in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. The new facility doubles the site's capacity to more than 100 million doses of influenza vaccine per year. The facility is projected to come on line in late 2008 or early 2009, following licensing by the US Food and Drug Administration. Sanofi also was awarded a $77.4-million contract by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to retrofit its existing influenza vaccine-manufacturing facility to switch to pandemic vaccine manufacture at HHS's request. Sanofi Pasteur is contributing $25 million to the project. The retrofit is scheduled to begin when the company's new influenza vaccine-manufacturing facility is licensed by FDA and is operational. Sanofi is building an influenza vaccine-manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China. The facility will produce pandemic influenza vaccine and is scheduled to be completed and operational by 2012. Sanofi is further investing C$100 million ($98 million) in a 165,000-ft2 vaccine R&D facility in Toronto, which is scheduled for occupancy in 2010.

In December 2007, Sanofi-Aventis opened a 2600-m2 center in Goa, India, for analytical and formulation development. The facility is the company's first pharmaceutical-development center in Asia and its single largest investment in India to date.

Sanofi made several moves to enhance its position in biologics. In 2007, the company acquired the rights to "TroVax," a therapeutic cancer vaccine, from Oxford BioMedica (Oxford, UK). It partnered with Acambis (Cambridge, MA) to develop a vaccine against West Nile virus. Also in 2007, Sanofi increased its stake to 19% in the biopharmaceutical company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (Tarrytown, NY), a developer of therapeutic human antibodies, and agreed to fund as much as $475 million in research over the next five years. Earlier this year, Sanofi received an exclusive worldwide license from Dyax (Cambridge, MA) for developing the fully human monoclonal antibody "DX-2240" and obtained an nonexclusive license to Dyax's proprietary antibody phage-display technology.


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