Accord Healthcare – a subsidiary of India-headquartered Intas – opened the 22-acre Fawdon site last week.
The firm said it will be the first Accord facility to produce generic effervescent medicines.
Other UK sites include Harrow, Barnstaple, Haverhill and Didcot.
“Aside from developing new products here, we’re looking to use it as a major packing centre for our activity, so we’ll bring in bulk tablets and pack to export to Europe again,” said Accord’s executive vice president, Europe & MENA James Burt.
“We definitely see this site and somewhere we can use as a base to export into other European countries over time,” he added.
Accord said it worked hard to reopen the ex-Sanofi site, purchased nearly two years ago.
Sanofi announced it would close the Fawdon plant on 2012, in part due to the impending loss of patents for drugs manufactured at the facility.
Anticoagulant Plavix (clopidogrel) and generic analgesic Paracetamol (acetaminophen) were made by Sanofi at the site.
Accord said it will hire up to 500 staff at the Fawdon plant.
“One of the things we’re looking to do here in the northeast – and especially in Fawdon – is to bring in local talent. We know there’s a strong pool of people from the universities here who are science based,” said VP European strategic operations Tony Codrey.
“We’re very keen to bring those young people and bring those skills here to this organisation,” he added.