French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which was beaten by competitors to a Covid-19 vaccine, said Monday it would spend €400 million (US$475 million) on building a new plant that can produce several vaccines at once.
The high-tech factory will be located in Singapore and will be operational in the first quarter of 2026, the company said, adding that construction would start this summer.
“The new site will provide Sanofi with the ability to produce innovative vaccines on a massive scale for Asia, and quickly respond to future pandemic risks,” it added.
Sanofi dealt a huge blow to France’s pride in its pharmaceutical sector by being trounced in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
The world’s third-biggest vaccine maker before the pandemic has said its vaccine candidate will not be ready before late 2021 at the earliest.
In the interim it has been reduced to helping produce vaccines for its rivals Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
The Paris-based group said on Monday that, whereas its other factories can only produce a single vaccine at a time, the Singapore facility would be able to produce three or four.
The factory will also be able to leverage “multiple vaccine manufacturing technology platforms based on different cell types” which would allow it to roll out a specific vaccine faster “depending on public health needs”, it added.
The announcement is the third of its type by Sanofi since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It also plans new investments in France and Canada.