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French firm Sanofi invests S$638 million to build vaccine production facility in Tuas South

SINGAPORE — A French multinational pharmaceutical company said on Monday (April 12) that it will be investing €400 million (about S$638 million) over the next five years to create a fully digital vaccine production facility in Singapore capable of manufacturing several vaccine types simultaneously.

An artist's impression of a vaccine-making facility in Tuas South that is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2026.

An artist's impression of a vaccine-making facility in Tuas South that is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2026.

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SINGAPORE — A French multinational pharmaceutical company said on Monday (April 12) that it will be investing €400 million (about S$638 million) over the next five years to create a fully digital vaccine production facility in Singapore capable of manufacturing several vaccine types simultaneously. 

The Tuas South facility, the first of its kind in Asia, is a collaboration between the Economic Development Board (EDB) and pharmaceutical heavyweight Sanofi.  

The site will mainly supply the Asian region and complement existing manufacturing capabilities in Europe and North America.

When it goes operational in the first quarter of 2026, it is also expected to create about 200 jobs in Singapore, including some in the areas of quality control and assurance, as well as logistics.

The facility is now in its design phase, and is scheduled to begin construction in the third quarter of this year. 

Mr Vincent Hingot, the head of vaccines industrial affairs at Sanofi Pasteur, the firm’s global vaccine entity, said that a key feature of the factory is that it will be designed around a central unit housing several fully digitalised modules. 

This is significant, because it will allow the facility to produce three to four vaccine types simultaneously, compared with just one presently in such factories. 

Such capabilities will be useful because it allows for the flexibility to prioritise the production of a specific vaccine quickly based on public health needs, Mr Hingot said. 

He added that plans for the facility were “already on the table” before the Covid-19 outbreak, but the pandemic had accelerated the need for it.

“We are having a need for quite a lot of new vaccines... so we will need the capabilities to produce them.”

Aside from offering a top-class environment for science and innovation, Singapore was chosen because it has the necessary skilled manpower and infrastructure for the facility, he added.

Mr Thomas Triomphe, Sanofi Pasteur’s executive vice-president and global head, said that the facility will give the company the capability to respond to future pandemics quickly and produce “innovative vaccines on a massive scale for Asia”. 

Dr Beh Swan Gin, EDB’s chairman, said that having the facility in Singapore will give companies here an opportunity to “co-develop new solutions with Sanofi to help the facility evolve and challenge the boundaries of advanced manufacturing in years to come”. 

Mr Hingot said that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that there is no single actor or country that can address the public health challenges alone, and that cooperation between the industry and the government of the day is vital.

While Sanofi has yet to roll out its own Covid-19 vaccine, the firm said in a press release last month that it had initiated the first and second phases of its clinical trial with therapeutics company Translate Bio that develops mRNA treatments and vaccines.

Interim results are expected in the third quarter of this year.

Covid-19 mRNA vaccines such as those produced by companies such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are those that “teach” cells in the body to make a protein, which acts to trigger an immune response against the coronavirus inside the body.

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Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine Tuas South Sanofi EDB

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