In yet another emerging-markets move, Sanofi-Aventis plans to sock $127 million into expanding operations in China.
The company will move a factory in Hangzhou to a new industrial zone in Beijing, and it will plough money into the manufacture of insulin-injection devices.
By 2012, Sanofi wants to turn out up to 50 million Lantus Solostar injection pens every year in the country. And the factory move will up its capacity to 160 million packs, as it produces and repacks the company's big cardio and cancer products such as Plavix and Taxotere.
In announcing his plans in Beijing today, CEO Chris Viehbacher said the time is right for Sanofi to make significant investments in China, because the government is spending about $125 billion to overhaul its healthcare system. "This is clearly a significant commitment by the government," he said, "which gives us opportunities in terms of volume and development."
Plus, there's a huge market for diabetes treatments in China. An estimated 60 million people have the diseases, which is more than four times the number with diabetes 10 years ago.