INGELHEIM, Germany & LYON, France--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Boehringer Ingelheim today announced an investment of more than €200 million into a new strategic production center for Veterinary Public Health. The company will establish the new site in the French Rhône-Alpes region, which is known as the European “vaccine valley”. With this investment, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Animal Health division will be able to respond to the growing global demand for foot-and-mouth disease and Bluetongue virus control.
“This is a record investment into our production network”, stated Veronique Kodjo, Head of Global Operations for Animal Health at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The new site is an important pillar of our future growth strategy.”
The company is creating approximately 100 skilled jobs at the new site. The high-technology building of 15,000 square metres will be located in the ZAC des Gaulnes (Gaulnes joint development zone) in Lyon. The foundation stone will be laid in autumn 2018 with the completed building expected to be operational at the end of 2021.
“This project underpins Boehringer Ingelheim’s position as a scientific, industrial and commercial leader in global Veterinary Public Health – government coordinated programs for the control and eradication of epizootics in livestock”, said Jacques Bonin, Head of Global Veterinary Public Health Center at Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are the leading partner of governments and private customers in this sector and our goal is to support them even more in their fight against epizootics in the future.”
The commissioning of the new facility will notably enable Boehringer Ingelheim to establish antigen banks: strategic vaccine reserves that can be quickly activated by governments in the event of an epizootic.
The process of formulating the antigens and filling them into vaccines bottles will be carried out in the neighbouring site of Lyon Portes-des-Alpes (Saint-Priest). It has also recently received a global investment of €135 million for the construction of a new R&D centre, which will be inaugurated in autumn 2018, and for the construction of a new facility for the formulation and filling of avian vaccines, commissioned in spring 2020.
In addition, Boehringer Ingelheim announced earlier this year that the company will establish a vaccine joint venture targeting foot-and-mouth disease in China.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a viral livestock disease, which is endemic in parts of Asia and most of Africa and the Middle East. Being highly contagious but non-transmissible to humans, it results in important economic losses for farmers. This is why the fight against this disease features among the priorities of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Bluetongue virus, or BTV (also known as Ovine catarrhal fever), is transmitted by insects. This disease is viral but not contagious and mainly affects sheep. It can also affect cattle, goats and other wild grazing animals. Bluetongue causes growth retardation in sick animals and sometimes even leads to their death.
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