The Paris-based pharma giant’s Fluzone high-dose quadrivalent influenza vaccine has four times more antigen than a standard-dose vaccine. The vaccine’s creators specifically designed it to provide superior protection against influenza for older adults.
The new plant will provide additional antigen and filling capacity for Fluzone, boosting supplies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. The goal is to enhance preparedness for future influenza pandemics. While the present COVID-19 pandemic involves a novel coronavirus, influenza viruses have historically been a serious problem — most notably in 1918, which saw worldwide flu deaths in the millions.
Sanofi officials consider vaccines a key growth driver for the company in the future. The company is presently supporting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing efforts for Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.
“As a leading vaccines company, we continuously look ahead to address the fast-growing demand for those influenza vaccines that have demonstrated clinical superiority against standard-dose vaccines. Fluzone High-Dose provides a long-term competitive advantage, and this new investment will ensure more seniors around the world are better protected against influenza and its complications. In addition, it will be a key resource to assist against future pandemics,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in a news release.
“We welcome the ongoing partnership with the Canadian authorities, who supported us to make today’s great news a reality; this will make the country, which has a strong legacy in vaccines research and development, one of our key hubs in our effort to protect and improve human health across the globe,” Hudson said.
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry, described the Toronto plant as a once-in-a-generation investment to rebuild Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing sector.