French drugmaker Ipsen has announced plans to spend over 50 million euros to expand one of its facilities in a move that will help the firm meet international demand for its products.

The company said that it intends to strengthen its manufacturing facility and pharmaceutical development centre in Dreux, France by 2011, as part of a programme which will see it invest 55 million euros. The project will lead to the creation of 85 new jobs, “including 15 highly qualified positions in R&D”.

Ipsen said the move will bolster its R&D at Dreux “by focusing the site on three strategic activities: formulation, analytical development and manufacturing of batches intended for preclinical and clinical research”. Two new buildings will be built by 2009, while a third will be renovated and the firm added that the large investment programme will be implemented “in order to support growing international sales”.

At present, the facility at Dreux has 580 employees and manufactures 911 million sachets, 767 million tablets, 362 million capsules and 72.5 million packs per year. It distributes more than 10,000 tons of drugs for 82 countries.

Chief executive Jean-Luc Bélingard said that by selecting Dreux as its international centre of formulation and drug development, “Ipsen chose to reinforce its investments in France, a country that features exceptional intellectual, human, technological and scientific assets in the worldwide pharmaceutical area.”