The Canadian government announced Wednesday it’s investing to build a new influenza vaccine manufacturing plant in Toronto.
The federal government will invest up to $415 million to support pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur Limited (Sanofi) to build a new vaccine facility in Toronto, which will primarily produce influenza vaccines, as well as have the capacity to fill and finish and inspection of the vaccines.
The Ontario government will contribute $55 million while Sanofi will invest over $455 million to make the $925 million project possible. The company will also invest at least $79 million a year in research and development in Ontario.
According to Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Sanofi has, after much consideration, chosen Canada to be its international production and distribution centre for their high dose seasonal influenza vaccine, Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine. The flu vaccine has been approved for people over 65 years and older by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization in Canada.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates Canada’s ability to attract foreign investments and to develop facilities with made-in-Canada solutions,” Champagne said in a statement on March 31.
“This once-in-a-generation investment shows our government’s commitment to rebuilding Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing sector, focusing on both short-term strategic solutions and a long‑term vision.”
The facility means that Canada will be better prepared for a future flu outbreak as it has the capacity to manufacture sufficient vaccine doses to the entire Canadian population within approximately six months after the World Health Organization identifies a pandemic influenza strain, the ministry’s office said.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu, also present during the announcement, said that by building domestic capacity in biomanufacturing, the health and safety of Canadians can be protected.
Besides pandemic preparedness, the facility is expected to create and maintain more than 1,200 highly skilled jobs in Canada, which is expected to partially include the workforce in Ontario, according to Premier Doug Ford.
“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 Ford in a statement Wednesday.
Sanofi said the new Toronto site facility will be operational by 2026.