Sanofi, Pfizer, AstraZeneca Pledge Nearly $2.16B in Total Investments in France

French flag_iStock, David Edighoffer

Pictured: French flag in front of a historical building/iStock, David Edighoffer

Ahead of the French government’s annual Choose France economic summit, several pharmaceutical industry leaders have announced plans to pump a total of approximately $2.16 billion (€2 billion) in investments in the country, according to media reports.

Sanofi on Monday announced that it would invest more than $1.08 billion (€1 billion) to boost its biomanufacturing capacity and improve France’s ability to “control the production of essential medicines,” according to its announcement. The investment follows a previous nearly $2.7 billion (€2 billion) commitment by the company in France “to support health sovereignty.”

The bulk of the additional funding will go to the company’s site in Vitry-sur-Seine and will help construct a new facility to double the production of monoclonal antibodies at the location. The Vitry site will also potentially help Sanofi manufacture several biologic pipeline assets, including potential blockbusters for asthma, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

A smaller portion of Monday’s funding will go to Sanofi’s sites at Le Trait and Lyon Gerland, also to expand manufacturing capacity. Overall, the pharma expects its investment to create more than 500 new jobs.

CEO Paul Hudson in a statement said that Sanofi has a “record number” of investigational medicines and vaccines with best-in-class potential, which could help the company respond to public health challenges. “With these unprecedented industrial investments, we remain true to our history by once again choosing France to produce these future medicines,” Hudson added.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca have also revealed plans to pump a total of $1 billion into France, according to Reuters. Pfizer committed around $539 million, which will help beef up the pharma’s R&D work in the country, while AstraZeneca has pledged an approximately $388 million investment in its Dunkirk site.

In January 2022, Pfizer announced a $560 million (€520 million) investment in France—to be allocated over the next five years—as part of its effort to make its COVID-19 pill Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) more widely available, according to French media outlet France24.

GSK is also expected to announce investments at the Choose France event, according to a separate Reuters report, though additional information was not provided.

On top of its French investment, Sanofi on Monday also entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Fulcrum Therapeutics to develop and commercialize the oral small molecule drug candidate losmapimod for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

The French pharma has agreed to pay $80 million upfront and to potentially put up to $975 million on the line in regulatory and sales-based milestones. Fulcrum will also be entitled to tiered escalating royalties starting in the low teens on sales outside the U.S. In return, Sanofi gains the exclusive right to market losmapimod outside the U.S., while Fulcrum will retain all U.S. commercialization rights.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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