The federal and provincial governments are investing heavily in a new bio-manufacturing plant in a bid to increase the country’s domestic vaccine production. The expansion of Sanofi’s facility at 1755 Steeles Ave. W. in North York will help meet the growing demand for flu vaccines and boost Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics, officials said.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates Canada’s ability to attract foreign investments and to develop facilities with made-in-Canada solutions, said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
The federal government will spend $415 million while Ontario is investing $55 million through a performance-based loan, toward construction of Sanofi’s $925 million state-of-art vaccine facility. For its part, the global manufacturing firm will spend more than $455 million as well as create and maintain 1,225 highly-skilled jobs in Canada. The company will also invest at least $79 million a year to fund Canadian research and development.
“This is a critical investment as it will create 300 high quality jobs and push Ontario toward becoming less reliant on others for the production of flu and potentially other vaccines,” said Premier Doug Ford.
Sanofi will use the funds to bulk manufacture Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine, a flu vaccine approved for people 65 years and older, at its historic Connaught site in Toronto. The facility will include industrial scale formulation, filling and packaging, a key requirement for pandemic preparedness.
Sanofi Pasteur, a subsidiary of French headquartered Sanofi, is Ontario’s largest brand name biopharmaceutical company with a full spectrum of R&D, manufacturing, clinical trials, regulatory and quality affairs and distribution operations.
This new facility which is expected to be ready by 2026, is a second large manufacturing mandate for Sanofi at this site. In 2018, Ontario and Sanofi announced another large bulk vaccine manufacturing facility focused on doubling the site’s capacity to produce childhood vaccines.
Sanofi’s current Toronto site produces millions of doses annually of vaccines (e.g. against whooping cough, polio, diphtheria and tetanus, among others) to more than 60 countries worldwide – including Canada – and employs 1,500 individuals in industrial affairs, commercial operations and research and development.
In addition to creating high-quality jobs, the new project is expected to result in hundreds of supporting jobs, including scientists, service providers, construction workers, egg farmers and transportation. It is also expected to help in developing tomorrow’s workforce, including collaborations with Ontario post-secondary and industry institutions.
“This new vaccine manufacturing facility in Toronto will not only give confidence to Canadians that work is underway to address the ongoing need for vaccines now and in the future, but that Toronto is a city in which businesses can grow and thrive,” said Toronto’s Mayor John Tory.