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Boost for Ireland as Sanofi Invests in Lantus Production

By Dan Stanton , 13-Feb-2013

Genzyme says it will produce the insulin drug Lantus for Sanofi following a second investment in its Irish facility.

The Waterford, Ireland plant was acquired as part of the Sanofi’s purchase of Genzyme in 2011 and the outlay of €44m comes just over a year after a €150m was invested in the manufacturing facility.

The news comes as a boost to both Genzyme and Ireland as a whole, according to Genzyme spokesman Michael Bance who told this publication that after several big pullouts from Ireland by Big Pharma companies, this second investment is extremely encouraging.

Bance echoes Dominic Carolan, Managing Director of Genzyme Ireland, who said in a press release that this was “evidence of Sanofi’s commitment to the location and the confidence that exists in what Waterford can deliver.”

Jobs in Ireland

The decision to make Lantus at Genzyme's plant is good news for Ireland's manufacturing sector, which has seen a number of Big Pharma cutbacks in recent years.

Amgen  was one of the first to make cuts, closing its manufacturing base in 2007, Abbott did the same in Galway and, more recently, Pfizer cut 177 jobs at its Irish API facility.

In contrast, Sanofi's investment will create 100 jobs at the plant at preparations are made for commercial production, which is scheduled to begin in 2016.

Genzyme's plant will join Sanofi’s Frankfurt facility in the production of Lantus, and this will be the first of Sanofi’s own drugs to be produced by Genzyme.

Lantus is a slow release subcutaneous insulin drug for controlling blood-sugar levels in diabetics.

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