Sanofi blueprints big vaccine plant for Mexico

Sanofi-Aventis CEO Chris Viehbacher journeyed to Mexico to announce a new $126 million facility to produce seasonal influenza vaccine-with a built-in option to switch to pandemic vaccines--for the Latin American market. The president of Mexico, Felipe Claderon, joined French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the announcement.

"This investment illustrates Sanofi-Aventis' local approach to global health," said Viehbacher. "This facility will benefit public health in Mexico and the Latin American region, in the context of influenza pandemic preparedness."

Once complete, Sanofi will work with Birmex--Laboratorio de Biológicos y Reactivos de México--on the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines. To be completed in four years, the plant will have the capacity to produce up to 25 million doses of new flu vaccine each year. And it will be built so that it can switch to manufacturing a pandemic vaccine in the event of an outbreak.

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ALSO: Vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur has abandoned its plans to set up operations in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, which is northwest of Philadelphia. The French company had been looking to the area to relieve overcrowding at its Swiftwater, PA vaccine plant. Report