The drug heavy is already active in India, although the new 2,600 sq. m. site, which will carry out analytical and pharmaceutical formulation development for up to 12 generic drugs per year, is the French firm's largest splash of cash in the country to date, being an investment of 100 crore ($25.3m). "It will play a pivotal role in allowing the group to introduce new, quality medicines rapidly both in Asia Pacific and the global marketplace," Sanofi said in a statement. Dubbed the Goa development centre (GDC), the new facility is located in close proximity to an existing manufacturing site operated by the company. It currently hosts 50 employees with this number soon expected to grow "as the group expands its presence and accelerates growth both in India and Asia". Indeed, this is a scenario that the firm appears to be aggressively pursuing. Just last month Sanofi announced plans to build a new influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in China. An agreement was signed between Chinese Authorities and Sanofi-Aventis which would allow the building of Sanofi Pasteur vaccine facility in Shenzhen. "China is joining a number of countries focussing on prevention of diseases and recognising the value of vaccines. The time is right for Sanofi Pasteur to further invest in China and prepare to provide this fast growing market with the most modern vaccines to be produced in a state of the industry facility," Sanofi-Aventis chief executive Gerard Le Fur said in a statement. The plant would be built with the aim of providing a source of influenza vaccines for the local population, which could be revved up to produce pandemic influenza vaccine in China in the event of a human influenza pandemic. Construction of the facility is due to start next year with the aim to be operational for the Chinese seasonal vaccine market by 2012. Future investment may be made in the site to keep pace with the anticipated growth of the Chinese vaccine market. Sanofi Pasteur already operates a facility in Shenzhen.