Sanofi opens digital biologics manufacturing site


Sanofi has opened a manufacturing facility in the US, one of the world’s first facilities using digital continuous biologics production technology.

The new facility uses technology connecting the production process with research and development, linking up more easily with the company’s marketing operations.

Sanofi already has a biologics hub at the plant in Framingham, Massachusetts, which has been a global hub for the company for more than 30 years.

The plant is important to Sanofi as its pipeline is dominated by biologics. The company’s most important new drug is Dupixent (dupilumab), a biologic antibody-based therapy that is already approved for asthma and eczema, with more indications to follow.

But there are a host of other biologics in the French pharma’s pipeline, including cell therapies and vaccines, that will require new manufacturing arrangements.

Much of Sanofi's biologics expertise comes from its US-based Genzyme unit, which it bought in 2011 for around $20 billion. But at times Genzyme struggled to match demand for its biologic rare disease therapies, causing shortages.

Sanofi hopes to put this behind it with the new factory, which also has paperless and data-driven manufacturing technologies to improve productivity, agility, and flexibility.

It reduces the time it takes for products to move from development to the manufacturing plant, and helping to keep pace with demand.

This is the latest biologics facility among several pilots, which are being accelerated across Sanofi’s organisation.

Other older plants are to be digitally upgraded, with similar initiatives in plants at Toronto, Waterford in Ireland, Sisteron in France, and Geel in Belgium.

Philippe Luscan, executive vice president for global industrial affairs at Sanofi, said: “We have been investing for some years to prepare for Sanofi’s future. Our Framingham facility leads the way in delivering the next generation of biologics manufacturing, leveraging intensified, continuous processing in a fully integrated digitally powered facility.

“This opening demonstrates we are at the leading edge of innovation and manufacturing excellence, helping us to shape the future of both our company and the industry.”