PARIS (CNA) – French drugmaker Sanofi said yesterday it would invest USD638 million over five years in a new vaccine production site in Singapore.
The new site would provide Sanofi with the ability to produce innovative vaccines on a massive scale for Asia and respond to future pandemic risks, the company said in a statement.
The project is expected to create up to 200 local jobs, it added.
Sanofi said it expected to start the construction of the site in the third quarter of 2021 and be fully operational in the first quarter of 2026.
“The Singapore site will complement Sanofi’s existing manufacturing capacities in Europe and North America and will become a regional centre of excellence for vaccines production in Asia,” the company said.
“We are very pleased by the strong collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to achieve this exciting milestone,” said Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur Thomas Triomphe.
EDB Chairman Beh Swan Gin said: “Sanofi’s decision to locate its first-in-Asia digitally-enabled vaccine production centre in Singapore, to supply markets in the region and beyond, is an endorsement of Singapore’s position as a leading centre for advanced manufacturing.”
EDB will continue to promote digitalisation, automation and innovation to transform the manufacturing sector and create good jobs for Singaporeans, he said.
The factory in Singapore will house several fully digitalised modules that allow production of three to four vaccines simultaneously, versus only one in current industrial sites, said Sanofi.
“In addition, the factory will have the flexibility to leverage multiple vaccine manufacturing technology platforms based on different cell types.
“This modularity and flexibility will allow the production of a specific vaccine to be prioritised in a faster timeframe depending on public health needs,” said the company.
The site is also designed to be carbon-neutral and to reduce both resource consumption and waste production.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said last week that Singapore is in talks with several pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics locally.
“Pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Pfizer, GSK and Sanofi, have invested here to leverage our skilled talent, commitment to research and development, strong manufacturing capabilities and excellent global connectivity,” said Chan.
The minister was responding to a parliamentary question on how Singapore is facilitating the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and how the Government is ensuring the country has the capabilities to produce vaccines for citizens’ use in future pandemics.
Sanofi has been developing a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate with British pharmaceutical company GSK.