Sanofi Pasteur Opens $100M R&D Centre in Canada

Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, and Premier Dalton McGuinty today opened a $101 million dollar vaccine research and development facility at Sanofi Pasteur's Connaught Campus in north Toronto. This new facility establishes the Connaught Campus as the North American Centre of Excellence in analytical and bioprocessing R&D for Sanofi Pasteur globally. It solidifies the Toronto site as a national strategic asset for the research, development and manufacturing of vaccines that protect public health - in Canada and around the world.

The province of Ontario contributed $13.9 million to the project through the Biopharmaceutical Investment Program, part of the Next Generation of Jobs Fund. This investment helped retain a large vaccine R&D footprint in Ontario and will help secure future manufacturing jobs, since it is easier to reach commercial manufacturing scale for new products when R&D facilities are in close proximity to the actual manufacturing site.

"Sanofi Pasteur is a valued partner in our commitment to health care in Ontario," said Premier Dalton McGuinty. "This impressive new building houses some of the most exciting talent anywhere, doing some of the most vital research in the world. We congratulate Sanofi Pasteur and look forward to new breakthroughs and new jobs."

A national strategic asset
The new R&D facility, known internally as "
Building 95", will help the company retain over 300 highly-skilled vaccine research positions and bring many of the company's accomplished scientists and state-of-the-art technologies under one roof. In fact, the North American Centre of Excellence designation means the critical mass of scientific expertise at Connaught Campus is playing a lead role in advancing Sanofi Pasteur's global vaccine pipeline.

  

The Toronto site manufactures many vaccines vital to public health with 94% of its vaccine production being delivered to over 90 countries around the world.  In fact, over 20% of global sales at Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest vaccine company, are generated by vaccines manufactured at the Connaught Campus. Its strategic positions include:

  • The only manufacturer of 5-component acellular pertussis combination vaccines globally
  • The only manufacturer of polio (IPV) vaccine in the Americas
  • The only Canadian manufacturer of diphtheria and tetanus vaccines
  • The capacity to stockpile paediatric vaccines domestically to ensure security of supply for Canadian immunization programs

"The ability to research, develop and manufacture vaccines puts Canada among a handful of countries with the domestic capability to respond to vaccine-preventable public health threats," said Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited.  "The unique and extensive capabilities of the Connaught Campus make Sanofi Pasteur a strategic Canadian asset for the protection of public health."

A history of innovation
From its somewhat humble origins in a downtown Toronto stable in 1914, Sanofi Pasteur has built a history of innovation, partnerships and wealth creation in Canada that has benefited the world. The company's Toronto facilities were home to the world's first commercial insulin production and the company was also the sole supplier of insulin to Canadians until the 1980s; produced a highly accessible antitoxin for diphtheria, the number one public health threat to Canadian children in the early 1900s; and was an important partner in the eradication of polio in North America and smallpox globally.

The site also boasts Canada's only billion-dollar biotech product - the world's first five component acellular pertussis vaccine was researched and developed in Toronto and today is manufactured and exported to 62 countries around the world. This Canadian vaccine has become the international gold standard for preventing whooping cough, which is a constant threat to global public health, even reaching epidemic proportions in California recently.

"Sanofi Pasteur has over 95 years of history in Canada and Building 95 will help write the next 95 years of Canadian innovation," declared Mark Lievonen.

Experts have been calling for urgent action in vaccine research, as highlighted in the "New Decade of Vaccines" series published this month in The Lancet. That's why Sanofi Pasteur is proud of the $600 million in capital investments made in Toronto in the past decade. The company employs over 1,100 people at the Connaught Campus, including 300 in R&D and over 700 in highly-technical vaccine manufacturing jobs. 

on June 22, 2011