Sanofi begins construction of Singapore vaccine facility
The facility is designed around a central unit that comprises several fully digitalised modules, which can produce up to four vaccines simultaneously, regardless of the vaccine technology used.
(From left) DPM Heng Swee Keat, Sanofi's executive vice-president for vaccines Thomas Triomphe, EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin and Sanofi's evolutive facility site head Koh Liang Hong viewing examples of single-use technologies that will be used in production at the Sanofi evolutive vaccine facility. Credit: CHONG JUN LIANG
Sanofi has broken ground on its state-of-the-art vaccine facility in Singapore.
Sanofi is investing €900 million (S$1.3 billion) over five years to create two such facilities globally – one in France and the $638 million production site in Tuas, Singapore, which will allow it to quickly pivot to making new vaccines that might be needed to combat future pandemics.
Sanofi have said its evolutive vaccine facility (EVF) is the first of its kind. The fully digitalised facility can produce up to four different types of vaccines at one go, unlike current facilities around the world that can make just one at a time.
Targeted for completion at the end of 2025, it will churn out vaccines to be used in Asia.
The facility is designed around a central unit that comprises several fully digitalised modules, which can produce up to four vaccines simultaneously, regardless of the vaccine technology used, for example protein- or mRNA-based ones.
The EVF will be able to quickly ‘switch’ to one vaccine process to boost supply levels and adapt to public health emergencies.
“We know that COVID-19 is not going to be here forever. So, with these evolutive facilities, we are already planting the seeds and preparing for the next pandemic, and this is the level of agility that you need,” commented Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice-President for Vaccines at Sanofi.
“Singapore is not just an economic hub but also a technology and innovation hub. To proceed with massive investments like the EVF, you need to have a whole ecosystem of suppliers of raw materials, of starters, of innovation technologies in the same area.”
Located at Tuas Biomedical Park, the Sanofi facility is expected to create up to 200 skilled jobs for the local workforce.
Singapore’s biopharma industry has been experiencing rapid growth, further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing output tripled in the last two decades and is now at more than $18 billion a year.
Sanofi is among others that have announced in recent years plans to conduct vaccine-related activities in Singapore. German firm BioNTech and Hilleman Laboratories will set up manufacturing facilities while Thermo Fisher Scientific will set up a facility to fill vials with vaccine and finish the process of packaging the medicine.
These will enable Singapore as well as the region to respond swiftly to future pandemics.