Sanofi boosts the production of its flu vaccines

An employee shows the Vaxigrip Tetra flu vaccine, from the Sanofi group in Val-de-Reuil (Eure), September 5, 2022.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the Sanofi vaccine factory in Val-de-Reuil, in the Eure, offered itself a little makeover. The pharmaceutical laboratory inaugurated there, Wednesday, September 6, a new building of 8,700 square meters, dedicated to the manufacture of the antigen of its main vaccine against influenza, Vaxigrip Tetra. With this new building, the result of an investment of 200 million euros, and which increases the production capacity of its facilities by 40%, the tricolor group aims to consolidate its position as champion of influenza vaccination.

At the same time, the laboratory has released an envelope of 50 million euros to repatriate to the French site the filling and packaging stages of Efluelda, its latest product against the flu, four times more dosed than the clic version, and designed specifically for the over 65s.

Sanofi, which accounts for more than 35% of worldwide sales in this market, made Val-de-Reuil its flagship in Europe. The Normandy site alone provides half of the 250 million doses of flu vaccines that come out of the group’s factories each year. Operational since the spring, the new building completed its first batch this summer, the first batches of which will arrive in French pharmacies in October, on the occasion of the launch of the annual flu vaccination campaign.

Vaccines made with eggs from French farms

The manufacture of these vaccines in France begins with the production of antigen, the active substance which makes it possible to stimulate the immune response against the virus. To obtain this precious liquid, the site uses chicken eggs from French farms. Up to 650,000 eggs, “the equivalent of three semi-trailers”, observes Henri Lanfry, the director of the Val-de-Reuil site, thus parade every day on the carpets of the machines during the production campaigns (from January to June for vaccines intended for the country of the northern hemisphere, and from September to December for those in the southern hemisphere). They will be used to cultivate the flu virus. On average, it takes one egg to make one dose of vaccine.

Also read the analysis: Article reserved for our subscribers Relocating drug production, a long-term project

To do this, the machines drill a tiny hole in the shell, inject a strain of the virus into it, then seal it. The freshly inoculated eggs are then placed in an incubator for four days in order to stimulate the proliferation of the virus, before being briefly put in the cold. “We then move on to the harvesting stage”, explains Mr. Lanfry. This operation consists of filtering the egg white using a centrifuge, to keep only the liquid where the virus has grown. Eggshells will be crushed, then processed to heat public facilities. The viral solution obtained is then purified, then the virus is inactivated. This complex process is repeated for each of the four flu strains that are incorporated into Vaxigrip Tetra. Hence the particularly long manufacturing times for the vaccine.

You have 29.38% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Source link

Leave a Reply