French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis SA said on Monday it had opened its first Asian pharmaceutical development centre in Goa, another sign of increasing interest in India from global drugmakers.

Sanofi spent about 1 billion rupees ($25 million) on the centre, its single largest investment in India, it said in a statement.

Sanofi's first Asian hub for analytical and pharmaceutical formulation development, is located close to its existing manufacturing facility in the coastal state of Goa, and will have the capacity to develop up to 12 pharmaceutical compounds a year.

It will play a pivotal role in allowing the group to introduce new medicines rapidly both in Asia Pacific and the global marketplace, the statement said. ($1=39.6 rupees) (Reporting by Rina Chandran; Editing by John Mair)