Big Pharma Tightens Its Belt in Global Manufacturing - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Big Pharma Tightens Its Belt in Global Manufacturing
In the aftermath of recent restructuring, Big Pharma is sporting a reduced global manufacturing footprint while intensifying its focus to biologics and emerging markets. What will be the look of tomorrow's manufacturing networks?


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 33, Issue 8, pp. 32-37

Bristol-Myers Squibb . Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS, New York) is proceeding with a plan, announced in December 2007 and July 2008, to transform itself into what it calls "a next-generation biopharmaceutical company." Part of the effort includes a productivity initiative in which the company hopes to achieve annual productivity cost savings and cost avoidance of $2.5 billion by 2012, according to BMS's first-quarter 2009 financial report. Reflecting its commitment to biologics, BMS is investing $750 million in a new large-scale, multiproduct, bulk biologics manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts. Construction of the facility began in early 2007 and is expected to be operationally complete by the end of 2009. BMS expects to submit the site for regulatory approval in 2010 and to begin production of biologics compounds in 2011, according to its first-quarter 2009 report.

sanofi aventis . sanofi aventis (Paris) is proceeding with several investments. In pharmaceuticals, projects include the construction and expansion of several R&D facilities in France (Chilly/Longjumeau, Montpellier, Toulouse, Massy, and Vitry/Alfortville) and the US (Tuscon, Arizona) and the construction of filling and conditioning lines at a facility in Le Trait, France, according to the company's 2008 annual financial report. Several vaccine-related projects are also underway. These projects include a research facility in Toronto; a new vaccine campus in Neuville, France; formulation and filling facilities in Val de Reuil, France; a bacteriological bulk facility in Marcy l'Etoile, France; an influenza bulk vaccine facility in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China; and the finalization of bulk and filling facilities in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.

For the new vaccine-manufacturing facility in Neuville, sanofi is investing EUR 350 million ($496 million). The plant is expected to be operational in 2013 and employ 200 people. For the Shenzen project, sanofi began construction in October 2008 with the goal of producing influenza vaccines for the Chinese market by 2012, according to the company's 2008 annual report. The company also has an agreement with the vaccine manufacturer Brimex (Laboratorios de Biológicos y Reactivos de Mexico) and Mexican health authorities to build a new influenza vaccine-manufacturing facility in Ocoyoacac, Mexico State. sanofi is investing EUR 100 million ($142 million). The goal is to produce up to 25 million annual doses of seasonal flu vaccines for the Mexican market, with delivery of the first doses planned for 2012.

In May 2009, sanofi aventis introduced its Biolaunch project at its Vitry-sur-Seine, France, pharmaceutical production site. The nearly EUR 200-million ($283-million) investment will provide the company with its first cell-culture platform to produce monoclonal antibodies. sanofi–aventis plans to have the project completed by 2012 and to transfer current chemical activities at the Vitry-sur-Seine site by the end of 2011. The Biolaunch project is part of a long-term approach by sanofi to invest in biotechnology.

sanofi also incurred restructuring costs of EUR 585 million ($833 million) in 2008, which in part reflects the adaptation of industrial facilities in France and adjusting its sales force in response to changing pharmaceutical markets in Europe, primarily France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, and the US.

Novartis. Key activity for Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) is construction of a new US-based vaccine-manufacturing facility and selective investment in emerging markets. In January 2009, the US Department of Health and Human Services awarded Novartis a contract for up to $486 million over eight years to support the design, construction, validation, and licensing for a cell-based influenza vaccine-manufacturing facilities in Holly Springs, North Carolina, to provide a prepandemic supply of influenza vaccine and capacity to manufacture 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of declaration of an influenza pandemic.

In another project, Novartis had announced plans to invest in a new large-scale cell culture plant in Singapore in 2007 to support monoclonal antibody production. Following the completion of the basic design of the facility in early 2008, the project was put on hold but could be resumed depending on the development of Novartis's biopharmaceutical pipeline, according to the company's 2008 annual financial report.

In emerging markets, Novartis's pharmaceutical division invested approximately $63 million in 2008 in a new production facility in Changshu, Jiangsu Province China, mainly to support the production of the antihypertensive drug Tekturna/Rasilez (aliskiren). The company is also investing $24 million in expanding a pharmaceutical plant in Chang Ping, Guangdong Province, China, to support the supply of its antimalaria drug Coartem (artemether and lumefantrine) to the World Health Organization and the local Chinese market. Novartis also made an initial investment of $100 million for the construction of two R&D facilities in Shanghai, China. In 2007, it opened up a start-up facility for staffing of 125 scientists, and in 2008, it broke ground for a new facility that will house approximately 400 R&D scientists and 400 other pharmaceutical division personnel.

As other pharmaceutical majors, Novartis is proceeding with a restructuring program. The company's plan involves streamlining and simplifying its organizational structures at its corporate headquarters and pharmaceutical and consumer health divisions, reducing staffing, and optimizing its supply networks. Its goal is to reduce its annual cost base by $1.6 billion by 2010 compared with 2007 levels. Novartis achieved annual cost savings of $1.1 billion in 2008, exceeding a target of $670 million.

For additional reading, view the corporate lineages of pharma's top companies in "The Pharma Family Tree."


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