Sanofi teams up with local pharma firms for vaccine production in Saudi Arabia

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Sanofi teams up with local pharma firms for vaccine production in Saudi Arabia

Following recent developments by AstraZeneca and National Resilience in the United Arab Emirates, Sanofi has emerged as the next major pharmaceutical company aiming to expand its presence in the Middle East on July 6.

The French pharmaceutical giant is collaborating with Saudi drugmakers Arabio and Lifera, the latter being wholly owned by the sovereign wealth fund PIF of Saudi Arabia. The partnership aims to strengthen vaccine production in Saudi Arabia. According to a newly established memorandum of understanding, the companies will explore various initiatives related to preventive healthcare. This includes the possibility of Lifera acting as a contract manufacturer for Sanofi and the establishment of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant utilizing advanced vaccine technology.

Under the agreement, Sanofi will share its biotechnological expertise to initially manufacture seven vaccines included in Saudi Arabia’s mandatory immunization schedule. The press release issued on Wednesday highlighted that Arabio will utilize its local and regional distribution capabilities to ensure the supply of vaccines and other biopharmaceutical products to the Saudi market.

This vaccine collaboration aligns with Lifera’s broader objective of enhancing the national healthcare system and promoting the growth of the biopharmaceutical sector in Riyadh as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

“As one of the leading global vaccines manufacturers and as a strategic partner to Saudi Arabia and an enabler of Vision 2030, Sanofi is committed to increasing vaccine accessibility and supporting Saudi Arabia’s goal to reduce its reliance on pharmaceutical imports.”

– Fokion Sinis, vaccines general manager for Sanofi Greater Gulf

Sanofi already has a significant presence in the region, with over 10 million individuals receiving the company’s vaccines each year. In 2022, Sanofi distributed more than 6 million doses of its quadrivalent flu vaccine in the region, solidifying its position as the leading supplier of pediatric, meningitis, and influenza vaccines across the Gulf.

Meanwhile, Lifera has positioned itself as a new pharmaceutical company dedicated to strengthening Saudi Arabia’s biopharmaceutical sector and enhancing national healthcare resilience. Its focus includes the development of local manufacturing capabilities for vaccines, insulin, plasma therapeutics, and other biologics. The company is also investing in genetic testing and precision medicine.

Sanofi is the most recent multinational pharmaceutical company to make advancements in the Middle East. In December, AstraZeneca, a prominent British pharmaceutical major, joined forces with G42 healthcare, based in Abu Dhabi, in an effort to strengthen pharmaceutical production in the capital city of the UAE. This partnership followed the introduction of the “Make it in the Emirates” initiative by the UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, which aims to enhance the country’s appeal as an attractive destination for global investors and position it as a global hub for emerging industries.

Additionally, National Resilience, a burgeoning manufacturing company, revealed its plans in early 2023 to construct a factory in the UAE dedicated to manufacturing vaccines and therapeutics for cancer, infectious diseases, and other medical conditions. This endeavor marks National Resilience’s first foray outside of its original operations limited to 10 sites in the United States and Canada since its inception in November 2020.

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