Novo expands insulin plant in France

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Denmark's Novo Nordisk is to invest €218 million in a plant to
manufacture insulin in Chartres, France, one of the group's largest
investments outside its home market.

The news suggests that the global epidemic in diabetes around the globe shows no sign of abating. The World Health Organisation predicts diabetes cases will soar from 177 million today to 370 million by 2030 while the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention believes one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop the condition.

The new facility aims to ramp up the production capacity of insulin doses as well as increase the volume of production of Flexpen, Novo's new-generation insulin injection pen designed to make it easier for people to manage their diabetes.

When it goes on-line in 2008, the upgraded plant will have an additional filling line and two more assembly and packaging lines, effectively doubling the production of insulin cartridge doses - from 92 million per year at present to 180 million units - and tripling output of injection pens.

The global insulin market is currently worth nearly $3 billion and is growing at 14 per cent a year.

Novo's decision continues a trend for pharmaceutical companies to invest in France's central region.

Last year, Servier started building a new drug production plant in the Loiret region at a cost of €56 million, while Biophelia modernised its sites at Monts and Chambray-les-Tours and pharma-conditioning concern Sophartex invested around €9 million in a plant expansion in the Eure-et-Loir area.

Elsewhere, Sanofi-Synthelabo announced the launch of a new production line at its Loiret site and Famar purchased a unit in Orleans to strengthen its distribution facilities.

Current estimates claim that two out of every five drugs produced in France come from the central region, and a new drug industry organisation, Polepharma​, was recently established to recognise this build up.

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