French drug maker Sanofi is setting up a new company to produce and market active pharmaceutical ingredients to third parties amid heightened risks of drug shortages.
The new company will be a stand-alone company headquartered in France and will combine the API activities of Paris-based Sanofi with six of its European production sites, the company said on Monday. The European sites include two in France and one in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Hungary. The idea is to create a European API production company that would be able to provide capabilities for the continent and beyond, while “balancing” the industry’s dependence on APIs from Asia, against a backdrop of growing drug shortages affecting patient care. The company is said to be the second-largest API provider, with around â¬ 1 billion ($ 1.1 billion) in sales expected by 2022, when it could potentially go public.
However, a Sanofi spokesperson said by phone that the plans for the new company, which has yet to start operations, were not linked to the growing outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which began in China and has since caused major epidemics in South Korea, Iran and Italy. The spokesperson could not say how long the plan had been in the works.
“Drawing on the expertise and experience acquired over decades within our industrial network, this new entity would help ensure greater stability in the supply of medicines to millions of patients in Europe and beyond. “, said Philippe Luscan, executive vice president of global industrial affairs at Sanofi, in a statement. . “With this company, this new entity would be agile as a stand-alone company and able to unlock its growth potential, notably by capturing new sales to third parties and all the opportunities of a growing market at a rate of 6%. per year.”
Despite the new company’s lack of connection to the COVID-19 outbreak, this has raised fears of drug shortages as many drug makers depend on China as the source of ingredients used to make them.
On Sunday, Axios reported that the Food and Drug Administration compiled a list of 150 prescription drugs that are at risk of running out of supply if the outbreak worsens. The agency is said to have been in contact with its European counterpart, the European Medicines Agency, as well as with manufacturers of medicines and devices. The outbreak has created nervousness in the industry and was a major topic of discussion at a recent biotech industry conference.
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