France’s Sanofi Pasteur to invest $639m in Tuas vaccine plant

Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur is investing €400 million (S$639 million) over five years to build a vaccine production centre here, giving a boost to Singapore's growing biomedical manufacturing cluster.

The French multinational said yesterday that the project is expected to create up to 200 local jobs and enable the company to quickly respond to future pandemic risks.

The production centre will supply vaccines mainly to Asia and complement Sanofi's existing manufacturing capacities in Europe and North America.

The factory in Tuas Biomedical Park can produce three or four types of vaccines simultaneously, unlike current industrial sites that usually allow for the production of only one vaccine at any one time, Sanofi noted.

This is because the new facility will tap digital technologies and single-use systems in vaccine manufacturing, said Sanofi Pasteur senior vice-president Vincent Hingot, who is also head of global vaccines industrial affairs.

Single-use systems allow multiple vaccines to be made in a single suite at lower costs, among other benefits. The facility will be able to leverage multiple vaccine manufacturing technology platforms based on different cell types.

Sanofi did not elaborate on what vaccines will be produced in the new plant, which has the capabilities to manufacture both cell culture-based vaccines and mRNA vaccines.

Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter of this year. It is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2026, once all qualifications and validations of the first manufactured vaccine have been completed.

"This new site will provide Sanofi with the ability to produce innovative vaccines on a massive scale in Asia for Asia, with the flexibility and the agility to quickly respond to future pandemic risks," said Mr Hingot.

Sanofi's new investment follows its recent commitment to build a facility in Canada, which will increase the global supply of its Fluzone high-dose influenza vaccine. It also produces vaccines for diseases such as dengue and tetanus.

In a Facebook post, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that when the facility is completed, it will, along with other pharmaceutical companies' facilities here, contribute to Singapore's capabilities in end-to-end production of almost all kinds of vaccines.

"It will make us more resilient, physically and economically. It will also strengthen our position as part of the global vaccine value chain," he said.

Singapore is home to Sanofi's Asia headquarters, regional export centre and a manufacturing plant in Tuas.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.