October 15, 2009 8:19 AM

Congratulations to Sanofi Aventis, the pharmaceutical company based on Edgefield Avenue, for opening its new high-tech packaging plant on the Fawdon site.

Councillor David Faulkner attended the opening ceremony at the company, which employs nearly 500 people locally.

"Sanofi has invested a staggering £100m in the past eight years at Fawdon," said David.

"Over half of the factory output is now for export, and the investment has secured local jobs for years into the future."

Older residents will remember the Sterling Organics name, and at different times the factory has produced products as varied as Andrews Liver Salts, Milk of Magnesia, Solpadeine, Panadol and Co-codamol.

Today the plant produces nearly four billion dry tablets and capsules such as Plavix (for treating strokes, hear attacks and hardening of the arteries), Xatral and Epilem.