sanofi-aventis Outlines Biopharmaceutical Investment Plans

April 8, 2010
Patricia Van Arnum
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

sanofi-aventis outlined an investment plan for adapting its chemical and biotechnology manufacturing facilities in France during the next four years.

sanofi-aventis (Paris) outlined an investment plan for adapting its chemical and biotechnology manufacturing facilities in France during the next four years. The goal of the project is to change the company’s chemical-industrial activities in France to biotechnology and vaccine production by 2014. The project also prepares the facilities for a decline in production that will follow the patent expirations of several major drugs derived by synthetic chemistry.

“The change of our industrial network toward more biotechnologies corresponds to the evolution of innovation in the pharmaceutical world, more and more balanced between vaccines and compounds arising from biotechnologies, and active ingredients derived from synthetic chemistry,” said Philippe Luscan, senior vice-president of industrial affairs at sanofi-aventis, in a company press release. “This project is fully in line with the Group’s strategy and will allow sanofi-aventis to maintain its competitive advantage, to generate sustainable growth, and to keep a steady number of industry jobs in France over the next four years.”

sanofi-aventis will invest EUR 150 million ($200 million) in its industrial plants, including EUR 90 million ($120 million) for the creation of a new biosynthetic process in industrial plants in Saint-Aubin-Lés-Elbeuf, in Seine-Maritime, France, and Vertolaye, in Puy de Dôme, France, to improve the company’s corticosteroid-production competitiveness at a global level.

Some new activities of sanofi pasteur, the vaccine arm of sanofi-aventis, will be housed in the new facility in Neuville-sur-Saône, Rhône, France, where a new vaccine against dengue fever will be produced. This plant will become the company’s third largest European center fully dedicated to vaccines by 2014.

sanofi-aventis’s plan also includes a gradual phase-out of the facilities in Romainville, in Seine-Saint Denis, France, by the end of 2013, accompanied by a job stimulus plan to be implemented in the area. The project also will include measures to assist employees’ geographic mobility, especially in the Paris and Lyon areas, and to facilitate career mobility by means of biotechnology training programs for 700 employees, to be provided in partnership with French universities. No other change in the industrial network is planned within the same period.

Since 2008, sanofi-aventis has invested EUR 700 million ($935 million) to give its chemical-production facilities in France biotechnology capabilities, according to company estimates. This total includes an EUR 350-million ($468-million) investment in facilities in Neuville-sur-Saône, and an EUR 200-million ($267-million) investment in facilities in Vitry-sur-Seine.