Sanofi builds on its top spot in flu vaccines with $200M plant investment

Sanofi, the global leader of influenza vaccines sales, will build a new €170 million facility in France to produce its newest offering, VaxigripTetra.

Sanofi’s flu vaccines are the top-selling in the world. To meet demand for its newest four-in-one flu shot, the drugmaker will invest more than $200 million in a new plant in France to produce it. 

The French drugmaker today announced (PDF) the plans for the €170 million facility, saying it would be erected at its Val de Reuil manufacturing site about 100 kilometers northwest of Paris.

The new facility will be dedicated to the production of Sanofi Pasteur’s new flu shot, VaxigripTetra. It will replace an existing plant and 350 workers will transfer when it is operational, a spokesman said in an email today. Sanofi Pasteur, the drugmaker’s vaccine unit, expects the have the facility built and operational by 2021 and approved and producing commercial product by 2022.

VaxigripTetra is a four-strain influenza vaccine that contains two A strains and two B strains. It is indicated for adults and children from 3 years and older. Currently available in 20 European markets, Sanofi expects to launch it in other countries around the world in coming years.

RELATED: Sanofi gets a flu vaccines booster with $650M-plus Protein Sciences buy

The drugmaker has plenty of experience with that. VaxigripTetra is similar to Sanfoi’s Fluzone, a quadrivalent which is approved in the U.S. and which was the top-selling influenza vaccine in the world last year. Fluzone raked in $1.68 billion in 2016 sales, according to EvaluatePharma, and sales are projected to grow 3% to $2.06 billion in 2022.

To maintain its pole position in flu vaccine sales, Sanofi in July agreed to buy Connecticut-based flu vaccine maker Protein Sciences in a deal worth up to $750 million. Protein Sciences makes Flublok Quadrivalent influenza vaccine, the only FDA-approved recombinant protein-based flu vaccine. It is produced from insect cells in an egg-free process.