World's second insulin plant launched in Russia

Sanofi opens an insulin plant in Russia's Oryol region. Source: RIR / Yekaterina Chipurenko

Sanofi opens an insulin plant in Russia's Oryol region. Source: RIR / Yekaterina Chipurenko

A RIR correspondent attended a ceremony marking the start of production of insulin at the Sanofi-Aventis Vostok plant in the city of Oryol.

The plant in Oryol (229 miles away from Moscow) — the second global production facility under the diabetes research unit of the French company Sanofi — is the first in Russia to operate a complete production cycle of human and analogue insulin.

On the morning of June 4, the city of Oryol in the Oryol Region held a ceremony for the opening of the Sanofi-Aventis Vostok plant. Thanks to its multi-shaded blue facing and tinted glass, the plant hosting the opening ceremony looked hi-tech and modern under the bright sun. Inside the Sanofi plant, innovative production technologies are used to make medicines that are fully compliant with the quality standards of Sanofi's plant in Frankfurt, Germany.

The production of insulin in the Oryol Region. Source: Yekaterina Chipurenko

The production of insulin in the Oryol Region. Source: Yekaterina Chipurenko

Sanofi has produced insulin in Russia since 2010, when the company acquired a controlling stake in an insulin production unit in Oryol Region. Over the following two years, the plant produced several validation series of insulin and fine-tuned its manufacturing processes.

In February 2013, the company was registered to run a full production cycle. Now, highly convenient and compact injection pens will undergo all stages of production — from assembly to final testing and shipment to the place of sale — at the new plant in Oryol. 

“The pharmaceutical cluster of Sanofi-Aventis Vostok is a strategic project for Oryol Region. Of course, we are proud that the only human insulin production facility in Russia is located here, making the very latest pens," said the governor of Oryol Region, Alexander Kozlov, at the opening ceremony.

France's Sanofi, headquartered in Paris, is the first of “Big Pharma” (the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world) to produce drugs for the treatment of diabetes on the Russian market.

The company started selling medicinal drugs in 1970, but could only set up its own production in Russia after the acquisition of the plant in 2010. Today, Sanofi-Aventis Vostok is capable of producing up to 30 million insulin injection pens per year.

The complete production cycle takes 25 days. In this period of just over three weeks, the substance imported from Frankfurt (in a refrigerator cooled to 13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) is turned into ready-to-use syringe pens with a convenient dispenser.

Sanofi opens an insulin plant in Russia's Oryol region. Source: RIR / Yekaterina Chipurenko

"When we manufacture here, we manufacture and test according to the same global quality standards that we apply in the group, so that the product we supply to Russian patients from sites in Oryol has exactly the same quality as the product that we manufacture in Frankfurt," said Martin Siewert, Sanofi’s vice president of production.

According to official statistics, diabetes mellitus affects more than 3.5 million people in Russia. The World Health Organization, taking into account undiagnosed cases, cites a much larger figure at 12.7 million. Just a few years ago, mass production of insulin in Russia was limited to porcine or analogue types.

The arrival of Sanofi in Oryol Region has had an impact on the development of other unrelated production industries. The company is implementing a program for the treatment of patients with breast cancer, as well as arranging educational programs for adults and children suffering from diabetes mellitus.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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