Company to invest $201 million to expand its production site in Val de Reuil, France.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), on a global basis 5-10% of adults and 20-30% of children annually suffer from infection by the influenza virus, resulting in 3-5 million severe illnesses and as many as 500,000 deaths. Seasonal influenza, or “Flu” viruses are easily spread from one person to another. Flu symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. While most people recover from the Flu without medical treatment, those at highest risk, including pregnant women, children aged 6-59 months, the elderly and individuals with specific chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma and chronic heart or lung diseases, can suffer complications and even death due to influenza.
Vaccine manufacturers develop influenza vaccines each year designed to target the influenza viruses expected to be most active in the upcoming season. Sanofi Pasteur, the Vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, produces 200 million doses of vaccines against seasonal influenza each year at four manufacturing sites around the world. Its new VaxigripTetra® quadrivalent influenza vaccine contains two A strains (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) and two B strains (B/Victoria and B/Yamagata) of influenza virus, as is recommended by the WHO. The vaccine is indicated for adults and children aged 3 years and older. The product is currently available in 20 European markets and will be launched in other areas of the world in the coming years, according to the company.
To meet increasing demand for VaxigripTetra and enable Sanofi to supply the vaccine to up to 70 different countries, the company is investing $201 million to expand vaccine production at its manufacturing site in Val de Reuil, France. Sanofi Pasteur is the only manufacturer of influenza vaccines in France. All steps in the vaccine manufacturing process are performed at the site, including antigen production; formulation; filling, inspection and packaging; and quality control. A global vaccine distribution center is also located at the site. The expansion should be complete by 2021, subject to relevant health authority approvals. The company expects to be producing vaccines at the new facility by 2022.
“Influenza continues to be a major public health problem around the world, causing serious complications, hospitalizations and deaths, mostly for certain high-risk individuals,” said David Loew, Executive Vice President, Sanofi, and Head of Sanofi Pasteur. “As a global leader in flu vaccines, this expansion reinforces Sanofi Pasteur’s ability to tackle this underestimated health challenge.”
Added Philippe Luscan, Executive Vice President, Global Industrial Affairs, Sanofi: “This project brings together the expertise of our people with our leading industrial know-how and illustrates our commitment to manufacturing excellence solutions. Our investment underlines Sanofi’s intent to strengthen our industrial capacities in France as a major centre of influenza vaccines production for worldwide markets.”