Gov. Rendell, Federal, State and Local Representatives Break Ground for New Facility That Will Better Prepare Nation for Seasonal and Pandemic Immunization
SWIFTWATER, Pa., July 20 /PRNewswire/ — Work officially began today on the construction of a new sanofi pasteur manufacturing facility that will expand the ability of the United States to produce influenza vaccine for both routine influenza immunization and in case of a global influenza pandemic. Sanofi pasteur is the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group (NYSE:SNY) . Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell was joined by company executives, federal, state and local officials in breaking ground for sanofi pasteur’s new 145,000 square-foot, $150 million manufacturing plant.
The new facility is expected to be completely online, validated and ready for production for the 2009 influenza season. The plant will replace an existing facility in Swiftwater, and will double the site’s capability for producing influenza vaccine. As a result of the project, it is expected that more than 100 new production jobs will be created at sanofi pasteur’s U.S. headquarters in Swiftwater.
“Sadly, 36,000 people die each year as a result of contracting influenza,” said Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). “This facility will contribute strongly to the public health of our nation, as it will help provide an adequate supply of influenza vaccines that will be available for future influenza seasons and the millions of Americans who receive the vaccine every year. Additionally, it will create quality jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania and benefit the entire region’s economy.”
“The Commonwealth has great respect for sanofi pasteur — a company that has continued to grow and expand right here in Pennsylvania while protecting and saving lives each and every day,” said Governor Rendell, in comments delivered at the event. “It is this type of business growth within high- technology areas, combined with a responsive state and local government and targeted federal support, which will help solidify a promising and competitive future for Pennsylvania for generations.”
From December of 1999 to June 2005, sanofi pasteur has added 870 new jobs and invested more than $200 million in capital expansion at the 276-acre campus located in Pocono Township in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Some 1,500 employees currently work at the site, which contains the only injectable influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the U.S.
The construction of the new influenza plant is part of sanofi pasteur’s continued commitment toward reliable planning and production of influenza vaccine, both in the U.S. and abroad. As part of these efforts, the company is participating in a number of important initiatives for pandemic planning, and was awarded four related contracts with the United States government, including a $97 million contract to accelerate the development of cell-culture technology for influenza vaccines.
The Swiftwater site, under various owners, has produced influenza vaccine for 58 years. Today the company manufactures several versions and presentations of Fluzone(R) Influenza Virus Vaccine, including the only influenza vaccine approved for use in the U.S. for children 6 to 35 months of age. In addition to Fluzone vaccine, sanofi pasteur manufactures Vaxigrip(R) Influenza Virus Vaccine at a facility located in Val de Reuil, France, which is licensed for use outside the U.S.
Influenza is a highly contagious virus that is spread easily from person to person, primarily when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. The virus can be transmitted even before influenza symptoms appear. The influenza virus causes “the flu,” one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season.(1)
Influenza causes an average of 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. every year.(1,2) Combined with pneumonia, influenza is the seventh leading cause of death in the nation.(3) Influenza can lead to serious complications by aggravating existing medical conditions; it can also lead to infections of the brain, heart and other organs.(1)
Classically, influenza is characterized by the abrupt onset of high fever, chills, a dry cough, headache, runny nose, sore throat and muscle and joint pain. It can cause extreme fatigue that may last days or weeks. However, only about 50 percent of individuals will exhibit these classical symptoms.(1)
The sanofi-aventis Group is the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases, central nervous system, internal medicine, and vaccines. The sanofi-aventis Group is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE:SNY) .
Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group, sold nearly a billion doses of vaccine in 2004, making it possible to protect more than 500 million people across the globe, which is about 1.4 million per day. The company offers the broadest range of vaccines, providing protection against 20 bacterial and viral diseases. For more information, please visit: http://www.sanofipasteur.com/
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future operations, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “expect,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “plans” and similar expressions. Although sanofi-aventis’ management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of sanofi-aventis, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by sanofi-aventis, including those listed under “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward- Looking Statements” in sanofi-aventis’ annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2004. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi- aventis does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward- looking information or statements. Sanofi-aventis Group subsidiaries in the United States include Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc., Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention and Control of
Influenza: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2004; 53(RR-6):1-40.
(2) Thompson WW, Shay D, Weintraub E, et al. Influenza-associated
hospitalizations in the United States. JAMA 2001;292:1333-1340.
(3) National Center for Health Statistics, (NCHS) Vital Statistics
Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control, CDC.
Len Lavenda, Cooney/Waters Group
sanofi pasteur U.S. Media Relations Tel.: 212-886-2200
Ellyn Schindler, Riger Communications
sanofi pasteur U.S. Media Relations Tel.: 1-866-885-7441
Source: sanofi pasteur
CONTACT: Len Lavenda, sanofi pasteur U.S. Media Relations,
+1-570-839-4446, [email protected]; or Cooney/Waters Group for
sanofi pasteur, +1-212-886-2200; or Local Contact: Ellyn Schindler of sanofi
pasteur U.S. Media Relations, +1-570-895-2689; or Riger Communications for
sanofi pasteur, 1-866-885-7441
Web site: http://www.sanofipasteur.com/