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Sanofi-aventis invests to expand Beijing plant

SANOFI-AVENTIS yesterday said it would inject US$90 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Beijing.

The world's fourth-biggest drug maker will see a significant increase in its output of the insulin medicine, Lantus SoloSTAR, after the expansion is completed in 2012.

This latest investment followed a US$94-million investment in Shenzhen in 2007 to establish a plant to produce Vaxigrip, a vaccine for influenza. The first phase of the project is now completed, and the production line will be operational in 2012.

"As the first multinational health-care company to establish an office in China, we remain convinced of the strategic importance of the Chinese market," said Christopher A. Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi-aventis.

The two investments combined together make Sanofi-aventis the biggest investor in China's pharmaceutical field, according to the company.

China now has 40 million people suffering from diabetes, according to latest statistics by the International Diabetes Federation.

The French drug maker is also investing US$39.4 million to build a new facility in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province. The new factory is set to be completed by 2012.


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