OREANDA-NEWS. Sanofi is investing €170 million to expand a vaccine manufacturing site in Val de Reuil, France. The expansion further strengthens Sanofi's position as one of the world's leading seasonal flu vaccine providers.

The new facility will allow Sanofi Pasteur, the Vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, to expand supply of VaxigripTetra® to up to 70 countries in six continents. The new quadrivalent influenza vaccine contains two A strains and two B strains of influenza virus, as per World Health Organization recommendation.

"Influenza continues 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."

"This project brings together the expertise of our people with our leading industrial know-how and illustrates our commitment to manufacturing excellence solutions," said Philippe Luscan, Executive Vice President, Global Industrial Affairs, Sanofi. "Our investment underlines Sanofi's intent to strengthen our industrial capacities in France as a major centre of influenza vaccines production for worldwide markets."

The new Val de Reuil facility will  be the only site of its kind in France and Sanofi Pasteur remains the sole influenza vaccine producer in the country.  

This investment is one of several major capital expenditures Sanofi has made in recent years to improve and expand its vaccine production capacities across France, the United States and Mexico.

Sanofi plans to complete the expansion by 2021, subject to relevant health authority approvals, and will begin producing vaccines in this new facility in 2022. 

About the Val de Reuil Manufacturing Site
The Val de Reuil manufacturing site is among world leaders in influenza vaccine production. It was founded in 1973 in the Normandy Region of France, 100 km northwest of Paris. It covers all the steps involved in manufacturing a vaccine: antigen production, formulation, stages of pharmaceutical preparation (filling, inspection and packaging) and quality control. The site also includes Sanofi Pasteur's global vaccine distribution center and ships around 900 million vaccine doses worldwide each year.

About VaxigripTetra®
VaxigripTetra® is a four-strain influenza vaccine, containing two A strains (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) and two B strains (B/Victoria and B/Yamagata) of influenza virus, as per WHO recommendation. VaxigripTetra® is indicated for adults and children from 3 years and older. It is a recent addition to Sanofi Pasteur portfolio of influenza vaccines. Vaxigrip Tetra® is already available in 20 European markets and additional launches around the world are planned in the years ahead.

About Influenza
Seasonal influenza or "Flu" is an acute viral infection caused by influenza viruses, spreading easily from person to person and circulating year-round worldwide. Seasonal influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks. Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. But influenza can cause severe illness or death especially in people at high risk. The highest risk of complications occur among pregnant women, children aged 6-59 months, the elderly, individuals with specific chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, and chronic heart or lung diseases.[1]

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) estimates, the influenza annual global attack rates are estimated at 5-10% in adults and 20-30% in children[2]. Worldwide, annual influenza epidemics result in three to five million cases of severe illness, and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths[3].

About Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur produces 200 million doses of vaccines against seasonal influenza each year on its four sites: Swiftwater (Pennsylvania, United States), Val de Reuil (France), Ocoyoacac (Mexico City, Mexico) and Shenzhen (China). Sanofi Pasteur's seasonal influenza vaccines are licensed and distributed in more than 150 countries. More than 3.5 billion doses of Sanofi Pasteur seasonal influenza vaccines have been distributed worldwide over the past 60 years.

About Sanofi
Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi is organized into five global business units: Diabetes and Cardiovascular, General Medicines and Emerging Markets, Sanofi Genzyme, Sanofi Pasteur and Consumer Healthcare. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

[1] WHO fact sheet dated Nov. 2016 - http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/

[2] WHO. Weekly epidemiological record - Vaccines against influenza WHO position paper, 87, No. 47 p461-476. November 23, 2012. Available at: http://www.who.int/wer/2012/wer8747/en/

[3] WHO Influenza Factsheet: Influenza (Seasonal). http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/