News of note: Sanofi’s €610 million vaccine boost

Sanofi will build a production site and an R&D facility near Lyon in efforts to make homeland France the center of its global vaccine efforts.

The plant in Neuville sur Saône, north of Lyon, France, represents an investment of €490 million ($550 million). It will be modular in its design and dedicated to vaccine production and is being set up to respond to future epidemics. The R&D center in Marcy-l’Etoile, west of Lyon, represents €120 million and will look to discover and develop future vaccines against epidemics.

The investments are support by the French authorities and, at the production plant at least, will create 200 jobs.

Image: iStock/JNemchinova

Following several attempts by this publication, the French Big Pharma firm did not respond to requests for information.

However, Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO, said in a statement: “Sanofi’s heart beats in France. We have a long history and exceptional teams working throughout the country, embodying our strong values. By investing in a new industrial site and a R&D center, Sanofi positions France at the core of its strategy, aiming to make France a world-class center of excellence in vaccine research and production.”

Like other large multinational pharma firms, Sanofi has been active in the battle against COVID-19. It is involved in two vaccine programs. The first is a recombinant protein vaccine based on the firm’s baculovirus expression platform – the same technology used to make its influenza product, Flublok – being used in collaboration with fellow Big Pharma firm GlaxoSmithKline.

The second is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine in development with Translate Bio.