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AstraZeneca—a fixture in Hauts-de-France for over 25 years

25 Apr 2019 | Front page, Health Nutrition, Investment

Since arriving in Northern France in the early nineties, AstraZeneca has invested regularly in its Dunkerque site. Now the Anglo-Swedish biopharmaceutical giant has inaugurated a new €135 million expansion.

AstraZeneca Dunkerque builds on 25 years of investing in Hauts-de-France

Since it began doing business here in 1993, the Anglo-Swedish company has invested the equivalent of €25 million a year in its Dunkerque plant. “Over the past five years, AstraZeneca has invested €170 million in this site,” says Senior Site Lead Pontus Rundström.

Worldwide center of excellence

“We decided to make Dunkerque the global gold standard for aerosol delivery devices— which tells you how important this site is to us,” adds Leif Johansson, Chairman of AstraZeneca’s Board of Directors. The devices are used for inhaled treatments for asthma and other respiratory diseases.

As the company continued to invest, the plant has successfully evolved and adapted, becoming an international center of excellence for the inhalers. Today over 99% of its output is exported to 40 countries, primarily the US. “We’re the only plant in the world that makes these devices,” says Pontus Rundström.

Building on this latest investment, AstraZeneca plans to go even further: “We want to be able to provide inhalers for an additional five million patients around the world,” he added.

AstraZeneca inaugurates €135 million expansion for Dunkerque

Announced in 2016, the company’s “Everest” plan invested €135 million over three years to grow the site’s “production, logistics, storage and testing capacity for these inhalers,” notes Pontus Rundström. The expansion includes:

  • A new testing laboratory
  • A third formulation line that can produce up to 28 million units annually
  • A fifth assembly and packaging line
  • An automated, 30,000-sq m warehouse that will double the plant’s capacity to store raw materials and finished products

In addition to improving efficiency, the move will enable the plant to begin producing a new inhaler for respiratory diseases.

And AstraZeneca plans to continue growing the Dunkerque site, with plans for an additional €14 million investment in a new assembly line.

Hauts-de-France honored the Anglo-Swedish company’s unwavering, decades-long commitment to the region at its 2018 International Investment Awards ceremony.

Source: Usine nouvelle, Nord Littoral, la Voix du Nord

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