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Sanofi and Lonza lay the foundation stone of their bioproduction plant in Switzerland

The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and the Swiss group Lonza gave Friday the kick-off to the site of their future joint factory of biological drugs in Switzerland, to be operational by 2020.

Sanofi and Lonza, a world leader in the biopharmaceutical and specialty ingredient markets, announced in February the creation of the plant, through a joint venture in which both groups each have to invest approximately 270 million.

This large-scale mammalian cell culture plant, dedicated to the production of monoclonal antibodies, will be installed in Visp (Visp), a municipality in the canton of Valais (southern Switzerland) and historic cradle of Lonza.

The two groups will each occupy 50% of the plant's industrial capacities, but each will be able to use each other's capacities according to their needs.

Around 200 jobs will be created by Lonza for this plant, only a dozen on Sanofi side, Philippe Luscan, head of industrial operations of the French pharmaceutical group, told AFP in February.

Sanofi, which aims to become one of the world leaders in bioproduction, expects to spend about 600 million euros of industrial investment per year in biotechnology between now and 2020, after 3,3 billion euros invested in this field these 5 in the last few years, the group said in June.

Dupixent (dupilumab), which is used against severe eczema, and Kevzara (sarilumab) to treat rheumatoid arthritis, are both medicinal products derived from biotechnology, along with approximately 60% of its drugs in development.

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