A new vaccine manufacturing facility will be built in Toronto, government officials announced Wednesday.
Sanofi is building a new $925 million facility at its existing Toronto site in the city’s North York neighbourhood.
The plant will primarily produce flu vaccine, and will help the nation bolster its vaccine supply and be a key ingredient for future pandemic preparedness, officials say.
“If there’s one lesson learned from [the] current COVID-19 pandemic it’s that we need to have a strong Canadian biomanufacturing sector. So that when [the] next pandemic hits we will be prepared as a nation,” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said.
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The facility will be built at the site of Toronto’s former Connaught Laboratories, a public health lab where insulin was discovered and vaccines for several illnesses used to be produced.
The Government of Ontario expects 300 new jobs to be created when the lab is operational. It’s expected to open by 2026.
The federal government is investing $415 million to build the new facility, the Ontario government is issuing a $55 million loan, and Sanofi is contributing an average of $79 million per year for research and development to total about half a billion dollars over the course of its agreement with both governments.
Sanofi plans to bulk manufacture its Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine at the Connaught facility, where it will formulate, fill, and package the doses.
Premier Doug Ford said the pandemic has made him realize how important it is to manufacture products locally, and vaccines are at the top of his list.
“This is a critical investment as it will … push Ontario toward becoming less reliant on others for the production of flu and potentially other vaccines,” Ford said in a news release.
Vaccines produced at the facility will ship throughout Canada, to the US, and to parts of Europe, according to a news release from Sanofi.