Sandoz Canada, a unit of Novartis’ generics arm, has opened a second manufacturing plant at its site in Boucherville, Quebec, boosting local production capacity 66 per cent.
The 50,000 square foot facility, which is part of Sandoz’ C$80m (€53m) upgrade and expansion programme, will manufacture “difficult-to-make products” for both the C$3.8bn a year Canadian generics sector and other key markets around the world.
The plant, which is due to be fully operational by mid September, comprises manufacturing, laboratory and warehousing space that the firm believes will give it the flexibility it needs to keep pace with increasing market demands.
Richard Saynor, Head of Commercial Operations for Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Canada and Turkey told in-PharmaTechnologist.com that: “The new plant in Boucherville is highly significant for our Canadian operations, and for Sandoz worldwide. It will enable us to triple our production capacity in both vials and ampoules.
“Canada is a Sandoz center of excellence for injectables and is an important regional and global supply hub for a wide range of products. The new plant will manufacture a range of medicines, including opiate analgesics. We currently make 85 different molecules in Boucherville and the plant supplies products globally, although the bulk of sales are in Canada and the US,” Saynor added.
In a statement, Pierre Fréchette, CEO of Sandoz Canada, said that: "We are one of Canada's fastest growing pharmaceutical manufacturers and this new production plant fits into our growth strategy
“It means that we will be able to meet expanding demand for existing products and to launch exciting new medicines," added Frechette.
Market to double in next five years
In its recent study, Business Monitor International (BMI) reported that the Canadian generics sector was worth C$3.8bn in 2007, around 13 per cent of the country’s C$29bn drug market. BMI’s work revealed however that non-branded drugs made up 49 per cent of the total volume sold.
BMI also predicted that, in common with many markets worldwide, the loss of patent protection due to affect many top selling drugs in the next few years will present significant opportunities in the Canadian generics market, which it estimates will be worth C$5.5bn in 2011.
The country’s generics sector is set to become an even more attractive proposition as a result of Health Canada’s work on “subsequent-entry-biologics.” While US lawmakers continue to debate biosimilars, the Canadian agency has completed its first round of consultation on its draft approval framework.
Despite the progress, Canada still lags behind Europe, where regulators have approved biosimilar versions of Johnson & Johnson's Eprex and Amgen's Neupogen.