Sanofi caves to French government’s concerns over coronavirus vax

June 18, 2020

After Sanofi’s CEO, Paul Hudson, publicly stated last month that Americans would be first in line for any approved coronavirus vaccine from the French company, the fallout was swift. The next day, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, summoned executives from Sanofi to his office.

Sanofi later said that development for any coronavirus vaccine candidate (the company currently has two in the works) that is being partially funded by the U.S. government and manufactured in the U.S. will be for Americans.

To help secure France’s supply, the company has now agreed to increase its manufacturing footprint on home soil. This week, Sanofi announced that it is investing about $675 million over the next five years to build a new vaccine manufacturing facility and R&D center in southern France.

The move comes as countries around the world scramble to strike vaccine supply deals with drugmakers, leading to a rise of what’s being called “vaccine nationalism.” Several EU countries made a deal with AstraZeneca/University of Oxford last week to secure doses of its candidate. The U.S. has invested around $2 billion so far into candidates from several companies including Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.

Read the Wall Street Journal report.