Sanofi Pasteur Proposes Expansion that Will Create 100 New Jobs in Pennsylvania
November 16, 2015
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Sanofi Pasteur , based in Lyon, France, the vaccines division of Paris-based Sanofi , announced this weekend that it has proposed an expansion in Monroe County, Penn.
The company has proposed building a 100,000-square-foot addition to its Swiftwater site that would be designed for flu vaccine manufacturing. It has submitted plans to the Pocono Township Planning Commission for a three-story building. At the facility, it would process 600,000 eggs per day for flu vaccine. In addition, there would be an 8,500-square-foot utility building, a modular seed laboratory, parking areas, walkways and additional improvements.
“The proposed work will cross the wetland with a pipe rack and construct permanent buildings, parking and loading areas,” said the engineering firm RKR Hess that reviewed the plans for the county’s planning commission. “Two buildings are noted to be relocated, but it is not clear where their new location is.”
Sanofi has had a fairly turbulent year, with the headline-making ouster of chief executive officer Chris Viehbacher in late 2014, disappointing sales of its new inhaled insulin product Afrezza developed with MannKind Corporation , and an attempt to bolster lagging insulin sales in general by making a licensing deal with Seoul, South Korea-based Hanmi Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd for $4.2 billion in early November.
It’s certainly not gloom and doom. The company is planning restructuring under the leadership of new chief executive officer Olivier Brandicourt, who is also considering unloading the company’s bio-surgery and renal units, as well as its Merial animal health division. It’s also apparently considering selling its nutritional, health and beauty supplements unit, Oenobiol. It also announced in late August that it was partnering with Google/Alphabet’s Life Sciences on diabetes monitoring and treatment.
Sanofi’s key revenue drivers include Langus, Plavix, Aubagio, and its vaccines and animal health divisions. Investing in its vaccines production facilities would be consistent with what the company has been reporting.
“In 2014, the Sanofi Pasteur U.S. site in Swiftwater, Penn., undertook the addition of three new facilities,” Marisol Peron, a Sanofi spokesperson told the Pocono Record. “The buildings will be dedicated to new product manufacturing, research and development, and quality testing. Additionally, the company continues to evaluate the needs of its business and evaluate its manufacturing capacity. At this point we are not providing any additional information.”
On Friday, Harry Kleanthous, associate vice president for research at Sanofi discussed the company’s vaccine strategy at the World Vaccine Congress. “We are actively exploring the development of a more-broadly protective influenza vaccine that will be designed to prevent the seasonal mismatches that can occur and that are not addressed using the current technology,” he said. “They are complementary, but can be considered ‘tailored’ antigens in that they are designed to re-focus the immune response to key protective epitopes on the hemagglutinin, which is the active component of our currently licensed influenza vaccines.”
Sanofi Pasteur is working on this with investigators at the University of Georgia. The experimental vaccine is a novel synthetic vaccine created from key genetic sequences of various flu viruses. It is dubbed COBRA, for “computationally optimized broadly reactive antigen,” and is essentially designed to use a variety of antigens that repeatedly occurred in a broad variety of flu viruses over the years. The company also indicates that instead of depending on annual strain selection, as it has until recently, this new tech would allow for year-round manufacturing.
The new facility in Pennsylvania is expected to create 100 more jobs at the Swiftwater location. At the moment, it is not specified when the township will give final approval, or if the Sanofi submission itself has been completed.