Sanofi Pasteur Influenza Vaccine Production Tops 170 Million Doses In 2006

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Let's see, Sanofi invests  €160 million last year, then produces 170 million influenza shots this year. The price of a single shot varies between $10 and $15 (according to CDC). Gross profit would make $1.7 billion, at least. 800% ROI? Not bad.  What was the key factor of this outcome? A fear. Consumers' fear.

Don't forget that some pharma companies were doubling the price (Some Suppliers Jack Up Flu Vaccine Price, The Washington Post, Oct.14, 2006). And now there's a huge surplus of influenza vaccines stocked in clinics. Will we see another warning about some new virus, dangerous and deadly, for sure?

Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group (NYSE: SNY; EURONEXT: SAN), announced that it completed production of more than 170 million doses of influenza vaccine in 2006. Sanofi pasteur confirmed its leadership as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of seasonal influenza vaccine, supplying a very significant portion of the estimated global production of about 350 million doses.

As the global influenza vaccine leader, Sanofi pasteur has been steadily increasing its manufacturing capacity. Since 2003, capacity has increased by more than 40% in line with the company’s commitment to serve a central role in the fight against a disease that causes between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 300,000 and 500,000 estimated deaths every year around the world according to the Word Health Organization. In addition, sanofi pasteur’s leadership position in developing and producing influenza vaccines places the company at the forefront of readiness against the threat of pandemic influenza. The company is committed to producing as many doses of sanofi pasteur’s most advanced vaccine in the shortest possible timeframe, should a pandemic be declared by the world’s health authorities.

By producing a record number of doses of seasonal influenza vaccine in 2006, sanofi pasteur demonstrates once again its steadfast commitment to fight a serious disease that affects the lives of millions of individuals each year and heavily weighs upon public health systems everywhere,» said Jean-François Dehecq, Chairman and CEO of sanofi-aventis. « Sanofi pasteur’s strong industrial capabilities combined with a high-priority pandemic influenza vaccine research program involving over 100 of our top scientists is enabling us to provide a meaningful contribution to global pandemic preparedness,» added Mr. Dehecq. Since 1995, sales volume of sanofi pasteur’s influenza virus vaccines has more than tripled. To keep pace with the world’s growing immunization needs, sanofi pasteur has made significant capital investments in influenza vaccine production capabilities in the United States and France in order to reach current levels of more than 170 million doses.

In 2005, sanofi pasteur initiated a USD 160 million investment in the United States for a new influenza vaccine manufacturing facility, which is anticipated to double its U.S. production capacity. New production capacities are planned to come online for the 2008/9 influenza season. A €160 million investment, the largest capital investment to date for sanofi pasteur in France, has also been approved for a formulation and filling facility in sanofi pasteur’s Val de Reuil facility. The new state-of-the-industry facility will boost sanofi pasteur filling capabilities, thus significantly reducing time to market for the vaccine.

source - Medical News Today