Today, the Sanofi site in Geel mainly produces alglucosidase alfa – a protein therapy for the treatment of Pompe disease. This genetic disorder damages muscle and nerve cells, affecting 5000 patients worldwide. “By building a new production line, we will add pioneering new medicines to our production portfolio,” says Gunther Pauwels.
At the site, 8,000 m2 of additional production space will be built to manufacture biological antibodies that are used as an active ingredient in medicines. These ‘monoclonal’ antibodies, however, are so complex that they cannot be obtained through chemical production. Instead, Sanofi extracts them from living cells that are cultivated in large bioreactors.
“Biological medicines have huge potential,” comments Stéphane Vandendael, General Manager of Sanofi Genzyme Belux. “The fact that we were able to bring this investment to Geel is mainly thanks to the area’s unique and long-standing expertise in biopharma.”