Vice President of Industrial Affairs & Toronto Site Head
The company is an anchor and leader for biomanufacturing in Canada.
Sanofi’s 100-year history and lasting commitment in Canada are etched into the DNA of the Toronto site. While producing essential vaccines that protect against vaccine-preventable diseases, Sanofi’s Toronto site is a driver of innovation, research, and development and a builder of domestic biomanufacturing skills and know-how. Offering a diverse and inclusive workforce, specialized leaders worldwide are drawn to the Toronto site.
Ramping up for the future means investing now
While routine operations produce hundreds of thousands of doses of life-saving vaccines annually, it’s strategic investments that have focused the Toronto site firmly on the future.
“We’re in a unique position to set ourselves up for the next century, and that’s extremely promising for biomanufacturing in Canada,” says Fabien Marino, Vice President of Industrial Affairs and Toronto Site Head at Sanofi. “Over the last few years, we have successfully attracted nearly $2 billion of investments at the Toronto site — an accomplishment that far eclipses any other of its kind in the Canadian life sciences sector.”
At the end of March, Sanofi announced its largest-ever investment in partnership with the governments of Canada, Ontario, and the City of Toronto to build a new vaccine manufacturing facility on its existing Toronto campus. This $925 million investment will contribute to the construction of a 200,000 square foot facility that will produce a global supply of influenza vaccine for seniors, and will have forward-looking capacity.
“We’re talking about large-scale flu production and the formulation, filling, packaging, and inspection line of the future,” says Marino. “Sanofi has been a leader for a long time, one of the largest biomanufacturers in Canada, but now we’re building and going to the next level.”
“We’re incorporating state-of-the-art design elements to increase flexibility and performance of the new drug product capacity,” adds Kate Winchester, Head of Flu and PandemicProgram, Industrial Affairs Canada at Sanofi. “This flexibility will allow us to respond and be a key asset to support pandemic readiness.”
Over the last several years, there have been many new developments at the Toronto site. As an example, in 2008, Sanofi invested $100 million in the construction of the North American Centre of Excellence for Analytical and Bioprocess Research and Development. Following that, a $570 million investment was made in a new bulk vaccine manufacturing facility in 2018, one of the most advanced and complex globally, designed to meet the growing demand for adult and paediatric booster vaccines.
New investment forges transformation forward
With smart factories on the horizon, Sanofi’s strategic investments will act as a catalyst for the Toronto site to renew its assets and modernize its ways of working.
“We’re at the forefront of the next industrial revolution — manufacturing 4.0 — where all our new assets will leverage advances in analytics, data science, automation, and machine learning” says Marino.
From Sujatha Sivarajah’s perspective as Head of Manufacturing 4.0 and the Portfolio Management Office at Sanofi, “The digital innovation happening on-site is an exciting transformation. These new ways of working including leveraging the power of data analytics, will modernize what we do and how we do it. We aim to upskill and empower our people by providing them with the tools and technology to make their jobs more efficient and more rewarding.”
But with the powerful winds of investment at their backs and an impressive roster of specialized leaders calling the Toronto site home, there’s still one key ingredient that makes these achievements possible.
Partnerships are the bedrock of success
“With strong government partners at Sanofi’s side, we really see the benefits that solid and meaningful relationships have when it comes to securing necessary investment in biomanufacturing,” says Marino. “The bulk of our investments at the Toronto site have included contributions from three levels of government because they too recognized the imminent need to augment our industry in Canada.”
Bringing these types of specialized biomanufacturing investments to Canadian soil can be a highly-competitive endeavour. Now more than ever, countries around the world are vying for coveted biomanufacturing investments.
From Marino’s perspective, “The new investments at the Toronto site will build additional domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, maintain and create jobs, and spur on the local economy while also contributing to the betterment of global public health. This is good for Canada and good for the world.”
The world we live in matters to Sanofi
“The connection between human health and the environment is reflected in our global conservation initiatives and our local efforts at the Toronto site — we work hand in hand with the local community and make sure our operations have the smallest possible impact,” says Luciana Schuetze, Senior Director of Health, Safety and Environment at Sanofi’s Toronto site.
Beyond this, Sanofi recognizes the need to take an active role to inspire future leaders. Mentorship, networking, and financial support are how Sanofi encourages the next generation to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). The Toronto site hosts roughly 100 university co-op students every year who attend Canada’s leading universities. There, they’re offered the opportunity to grow and be a part of something bigger than themselves — researching, developing, and manufacturing life-saving vaccines.
Sanofi is also a big proponent of meaningful inclusion and diversity. One example of this is reflected in the number of women working in manufacturing and holding leadership roles. Sanofi in Canada was the first global biopharmaceutical company to earn Gold-Level Gender Parity by Women in Governance.
“The Toronto site reflects the richness of Canada and eliminating barriers for women to be in leadership positions makes us stronger and provides much-needed diversity of thought at all levels of the site community,” says Marino.
Living and breathing its purpose
Sanofi cares for the whole person and every person. It’s more than the treatments and vaccines it produces, but also an aspiration to create a better world.
Reflecting on that, Marino notes, “Ultimately, we’re very proud to be a part of such an impactful global organization — one that constantly pursues excellence in all that we do. “At our Toronto site we’re driven by our mission — that no person should suffer or die from a vaccine-preventable disease. That’s our inspiration — our ambition — and it will always be what guides us today, tomorrow, and beyond.”