Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading provider of animal health products for pets and livestock, marked the completion of work Oct. 9 at its site in Athens, Ga., after a $76 million investment.
The investment doubled the company’s capacity to produce vaccines for pets in the U.S. and around the world, Boehringer Ingelheim said in an announcement.
“Today’s announcement is representative of the growth and investment Boehringer Ingelheim is making around the United States. It also signals our commitment to a world in which no animal suffers from preventable disease,” said Everett Hoekstra, president of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. “We are excited about what’s in store for our company and our communities and for the future of animal health.”
Headquartered in Duluth, Ga., Boehringer Ingelheim’s U.S. Animal Health Business has increased its manufacturing capacity in recent years at several sites in Georgia and in St. Joseph, Mo., where the company has maintained operations for more than a century.
Boehringer Ingelheim employs about 440 people in Athens. The site produces more than 150 vaccines for pets, poultry and wildlife that are sold in more than 80 countries to protect animals from diseases like rabies. The site produces several-hundred-million doses of vaccines a year, the company reported.
Strategic vaccine production center
In late September, Boehringer Ingelheim announced that it is developing one of the largest biotechnology production sites for veterinary vaccines in Europe, building on France’s pioneering expertise in veterinary public health.
This investment of more than 200 million euros will significantly increase production capacities for antigens and vaccines against highly contagious diseases, providing the means to fight animal epidemics that often have dramatic health and financial consequences, such as foot and mouth disease and bluetongue disease, the company said.
During remarks at the groundbreaking event, Didier Guillaume, France's minister of agriculture and food, said, “France's highly favorable health situation is widely recognized internationally, as well as its high level of expertise in the veterinary field. However, in a context of global trade and global warming, vigilance is needed, whether it is foot and mouth disease, African swine fever or avian influenza. Strengthening our vaccine production capacities is, therefore, a major strategic challenge at a national, European and global level.”
Boehringer Ingelheim said the high-security, 15,000 sq. m building in Lyon, France, will begin operating during the third quarter of 2022. Its five floors will be home to 35 cell and virus culture tanks, a purification area, a decontamination station and a strategic active ingredient reserve. This antigen bank will enable the company to quickly and efficiently respond to government orders in case of an epizootic outbreak of foot and mouth disease or bluetongue disease.
“In the future, we will be able to supply millions of doses in a few days from Lyon for ring vaccination in affected areas to stop the progression of the disease. This is a major challenge, given the impact of epidemics in the animal population,” Erick Lelouche, president of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health France, explained.
Boehringer Ingelheim is the second-largest animal health business in the world, with net sales of almost 4 billion euros in 2018 and a presence in more than 150 markets.