Sanofi pumps €300m into Belgian plant to support biologics pipeline

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

The site is in Flanders, Belgium. Image: Google Streetview
The site is in Flanders, Belgium. Image: Google Streetview

Related tags Monoclonal antibodies

Sanofi will invest €300m ($340m) and create over 100 jobs at a biomanufacturing site in Belgium intended to support its monoclonal antibody pipeline.

The facility in Geel, Belgium is the sole manufacturing site for Sanofi/Genzyme’s Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa), a protein therapy used to treat Pompe disease, but the expansion will add 8000m2​ of manufacturing space to up capacity and bring in production of other biological products.

“The Geel site is designed to be a multi-product site,”​ Sanofi spokesperson Nicolas Kressmann told “It manufactures one key product at the moment [but] systems and infrastructure are in place to support a multi-product portfolio.”

The expansion will be dedicated to the production of monoclonal antibodies, he continued, specifically one of the mAbs currently in Sanofi’s clinical development.

“Geel is one of our centers of expertise for the production of biopharmaceuticals. The site was acquired by Sanofi Genzyme in 2001. The existing infrastructure allowed us to reactive and construct additional production lines for monoclonal.”

Additional capacity will come from mainly stainless steel systems, Kressmann added as “this is still the current platform for large scale monoclonal antibody production.”

Geel will also gain new laboratories focused on quality control and manufacturing sciences and a range of highly-skilled biotechnology jobs will be created.

“As a result of the investment, more than 100 full time positions will be added to the site,”​ we were told.

Biologics investment

The investment supports the French pharma giant’s strategy of growing its biologics network. In November last year​, the firm pledged to continue investing in its biologics sites despite rolling out a €1.5bn cost-saving plan across its manufacturing network, which comprises of over 100 sites.

Over 70% of Sanofi’s pipeline is in biologics, and around 40% are monoclonal antibodies, Sanofi spokesperson Flore Larger told in January 2015​.

Sanofi’s strategy involves “investing in [its] own resources, partnering with Regeneron and building an agile internal and external manufacturing network,”​ she said, after the firm signed a Master Service Agreement (MSA) for commercial contract manufacturing of mAbs with Boehringer Ingelheim.

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