Sanofi China opened a new assembling and packaging facility for prefilled insulin devices in Beijing, China, in May 2012. The facility will produce the SoloSTAR insulin injection pens prefilled with Lantus, the company’s insulin drug. Sanofi China looks after the Chinese operations of the globally diversified healthcare company Sanofi.
The plant will help Sanofi serve diabetics in China and other Asian countries. During the plant’s inauguration ceremony in May 2012, the company announced the addition of an aseptic production line for cartridges at the plant.
Sanofi’s Chinese manufacturing sites and production
Sanofi built the new plant in Beijing in its attempt to increase production base in China. The company operates six manufacturing sites in China, including one plant each in Beijing, Shenzhen, Tangshan and Nanchang, and two plants in Hangzhou.
The Beijing plant was announced three years ago, in 2009. In April 2009 Sanofi signed an agreement with Beijing e-Town International Investment to set up a plant within the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area (BDA).
Phased construction of the pen assembling facility
The Beijing manufacturing facility is a $90m project for Sanofi. It is being built in two phases. The assembly and packaging plant formed the first phase of the project. The second phase will involve addition of the cartridge aseptic production line.
Transport infrastructure and access to logistics centres
The new manufacturing plant is located in Yizhuang, a town in the Beijing suburban area. The BDA is a 46.8 square kilometre National Economic and Technological Development Zone and is the biggest of its kind in Beijing.
The plant currently includes an assembly unit integrated with a packaging facility. The construction on cartridge production facility is yet to begin.
The location of the BDA offers the plant quick and easy access to major logistics centres and transportation infrastructure. The Jingjintang Expressway, located on the east of the BDA, provides access to Tianjin Port. The facility is also connected to the 3rd Ring Road and 4th Ring Road by an expressway.
The Capital International Airport is located 25km from the facility. A railway freight station is located just seven kilometres from the plant, while a road freight station is situated within a five kilometre distance. In addition, an international Logistics Centre is located within one kilometre from the facility.
Lantus production and SoloSTAR pen details
The plant does not produce any drugs but will manufacture insulin cartridges and fill Sanofi’s insulin drug Lantus into prefilled injection pens.
Lantus is a long-acting insulin drug produced by the company. The drug is approved for use in adult type 2 diabetics. It is also approved for treating adult and paediatric type 1 diabetics. It has to be subcutaneously administered once-daily.
Sanofi sells Lantus in the form of a prefilled injection pen called SoloSTAR. The easy-to-use disposable pen can be used to inject insulin doses from a minimum of one unit to a maximum of 80 units. It won a GOOD DESIGN award from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in 2007.
The insulin drug was launched in China in 2004. The device with prefilled Lantus was launched in China in 2008.
Production capacity for prefilled insulin pens
The assembling and packaging unit is designed for a production capacity of 48 million prefilled insulin pens every year.
Marketing commentary for Sanofi’s Lantus and SoloSTAR
Lantus is the highest sold insulin injection in the world by volume, according to Sanofi. It is reputed for its long lasting action due to prolonged absorption.
SoloSTAR is an easy-to-use insulin injection device because it is small in size and eliminates the need for changing insulin cartridges.
Lantus SoloSTAR, the flagship product of Sanofi, combines the benefits of the insulin pen with an effective insulin drug, to benefit those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.