Today, Boehringer Ingelheim celebrated the topping-out ceremony for a new production site in Ingelheim.
€119 million has been invested in the expansion. The additional manufacturing capacities will secure our ability to meet the expected global requirement for the innovative anticoagulant, dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa®). The new plant is expected to be completed by 2011. The investment is linked to 120 attractive workplaces at the family-run company’s head office.
“This is not just about increased capacity for production of a highly innovative new medicine. The plant’s construction is also a reflection of our company’s innovative capacity and the confidence this gives us for the future,” commented Professor Wolfram Carius, member of the Board of Managing Directors at Boehringer Ingelheim and responsible globally for human resources and operations. “After all, this plant produces the prospect on which hundreds and thousands of patients are pinning their future-our innovative anticoagulant, dabigatran etexilate.”
At the end of March 2008, dabigatran etexilate was approved throughout Europe under the trade name of Pradaxa® for the prevention of thrombosis and potentially life-threatening pulmonary embolisms following hip or knee replacement surgery. Boehringer Ingelheim is also preparing to meet market needs for another, far greater indication, i.e. prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common form of arrhythmia.
Patients with atrial fibrillation are at a five times greater risk of stroke; strokes associated with this are often particularly severe. The only options available up to now were the vitamin K antagonists, an active ingredient class which is more than 50 years old. While these give patients good protection from stroke, they have numerous limitations and are often very difficult to administer. A major international comparative study with the vitamin K antagonist warfarin, in which more than 18,000 patients took part, demonstrated at the end of 2009 that dabigatran etexilate could prevent an additional million cases of stroke caused by atrial fibrillation worldwide each year-saving a lot of people from the prospect of spending their lives in a wheelchair.
According to Dr Martin Wanning, responsible at Boehringer Ingelheim for infrastructure in Germany and worldwide, manufacturing Pradaxa is a great challenge in terms of pharmaceutical production. “With state-of-the-art technology and our highly qualified employees, the expansion will allow us to triple current production and, with the Puros extension, Boehringer Ingelheim will be in a position to produce 1.5 billion capsules per year.”
In May 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim had inaugurated the first module of the new plant, invested EUR 64 million and created 60 new jobs at the Ingelheim site. Since then, this plant has manufactured active ingredient pellets for Pradaxa® in three complex process stages.