The infrastructure investment in diabetes treatment capacity is the latest move in Sanofi’s expansion into emerging markets, which has seen the company acquire generics businesses in Brazil and Mexico.
Sanofi’s $90m (€69.5m) investment will be used to increase capacity at its Lantus (insulin glargine) SoloSTAR facility in Beijing, China, which is expected to produce 50m units on its pre-filled injection production line when fully operational.
Christopher Viehbacher, CEO at Sanofi, said: “The new Lantus SoloSTAR investment signifies a new milestone of Sanofi-Aventis’ commitment to China. As the first multinational healthcare company to establish offices in China, we remain convinced of the strategic importance of the Chinese market.
“We are particularly dedicated to investing in areas that can help China address its public health needs. Lantus SoloSTAR is a result of five years of R&D at the highest level. The local production of Lantus SoloSTAR at the new manufacturing site is scheduled to start in 2012, and it will bring great benefits to the diabetes patients in China.”
As the Chinese population adopts a more western diet and lifestyle occurrences of diabetes are expected to rise and Sanofi’s presence in the country should position it to treat this patient group.
Diabetes genotyping project
Sanofi and the Chinese Diabetes Society are partnering to undertake what they describe as “the world’s largest diabetes genotyping project”.
The partnership intends to initiate a study involving more than 46,000 diabetic and non-diabetic patients to analyse in-depth genetic factors and improve understanding of the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.
By gathering this data Sanofi believes that it can improve early detection of at risk patients and create effective prevention strategies. In addition the study could define new molecular targets that may help the development of treatments.