Sanofi, BARDA break ground on another flu vaccine plant at Pennsylvania campus

Sanofi and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are expanding their capacity to manufacture flu shots. They are breaking ground on a two-story formulation and filling facility at the company’s sprawling campus in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.

Sanofi will fill syringes and vials using isolator barrier technology as well as single-use technology to provide flexibility.

This is the third major manufacturing investment for BARDA at the site as part of a contract signed in 2019 to increase domestic production capabilities for pandemic flu vaccines. The contract supports the clinical development of an adjuvanted recombinant pandemic influenza vaccine that uses the same technology as Sanofi’s recombinant quadrivalent flu shot. It also expands Swiftwater’s site capacity to include these technologies in addition to the current egg-based platform capability.

The purpose of the contract is to expand preparedness by leveraging the new recombinant, protein-based technology to deliver a pandemic vaccine.

BARDA is part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Past pandemics confirmed that public-private partnerships are key to providing a relevant and quick answer to pandemic situations,” Rakesh Kakkar, Sanofi’s head of vaccine manufacturing and supply, said in a release.

The Swiftwater campus includes more than 60 buildings on 500 acres in the Pocono Mountains. Sanofi produces vaccines for seven other diseases there. Sanofi is the world’s largest producer of seasonal flu vaccines, providing more than 250 million shots to 120 countries annually.

Sanofi recently beefed up its capability to produce flu vaccines in North America. In 2021, it revealed an investment of 600 million euros to build a plant in Toronto.

In the fall of 2021, Sanofi began production of flu shots at its newly completed Swiftwater plant. Opening the $425 million facility added 200 employees to the site.

Sanofi manufactures Fluzone High-Dose, a quadrivalent vaccine targeting four flu strains. The high-dose vaccines are gaining popularity as they provide superior protection for the elderly.