May 5, 2009 / 8:32 AM / 9 years ago

Sanofi sets up biotech plant, seeks partnerships

VITRY-SUR-SEINE, France, May 5 (Reuters) - Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) announced a 200 million euro plan to convert a French factory to biotechnology, highlighting efforts by the world’s fourth largest drugmaker to penetrate the growing sector.

The group’s Vitry-sur-Seine factory near Paris will be fully dedicated to researching, developing and producing biotechnology products and its doors will be thrown open to small biotech companies to help the French drugmaker discover new drugs.

“We will also welcome other biotechnology companies, we do this because collaborations can provide us with new products,” Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher said on Tuesday.

“It’s an opportunity for the company to do partnerships with biotechnology and research companies.”

Sanofi aims to boost the number of its biotech-based products as they are harder to copy than chemical-based treatments.

“The investment of nearly 200 million euros will give rise to the first cell culture biotechnology platform of the group to produce monoclonal antibodies as from 2012,” Sanofi said.

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