Sanofi to sell liquid drugs plant to Unither

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Codeine Sanofi

Sanofi-Aventis is to sell its liquid drug manufacturing plant in Colomiers, southwest France, to industry specialist Unither for an as yet undisclosed sum.

Unither, which bought Sanofi’s Coutances plant in 2001, will continue to make several products at Colomiers on the latter’s behalf on a contractual basis, including the world leading cough syrup Rhinathiol (carbocistein).

A Sanofi spokesman told in-PharmaTechnologist that the firm’s decision was in response to a decline of the global market for liquid forms that has been going on for the last few years, rather than falling sales of any one particular drug produced at the site.

He explained that: “Most of the drugs [made at the facility] are moving to over-the-counter status and, as a result, are not likely to see dramatic growth in the future​.”

The Sanofi representative added that the firm had decided to enter into the transaction last Friday and explained that it will be discussed at a consultation with the facility’s workforce, as is required by French law, at a meeting being held tomorrow.

He also said that Amiens-headquartered Unither will maintain full production operations at the Colomiers plant and is expected to retain the facilitiy's 200-strong manufacturing workforce.

Despite these comments, the meeting may well be a difficult one for Sanofi given that its Colomiers employees were described as being “surprised​” to learn of the sale in a report on the Ladepeche.fr​ news website.

Unither, which was set up by former Sanofi employees in 1993, currently has manufacturing facilities in Amiens, Bessay, Bordeaux, Gannat, Paris and Coutances at which it employees nearly 600 people.

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