Sanofi invests €350mn in new vaccine facility in Toronto
Investing €5.5bn in research and development in 2017 and situated in 36 countries, pharmaceutical company Sanofi is now set to invest €350mn for the development of a new state-of-the-art vaccine facility at the Sanofi Pasteur Canadian headquarters in Toronto, Ontario.
The investment bolsters the company's Canadian operations, its commitment to advancing public health around the world and is one of the largest-ever investments by the company in a single building.
Pasteur's Canadian facility has supported numerous scientific breakthroughs while making significant public health contributions. The Toronto site was home to the world's first large-scale commercial insulin production and was the sole supplier of the diabetes treatment to Canadians until the 1980s.
Additionally, the facility also produced a highly accessible antitoxin for diphtheria, the leading public health threat to Canadian children in the early 1900s and was an important partner in the eradication of polio in North America and smallpox around the world.
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"Canada has a strong legacy in the research and development of vaccines. With this investment, Sanofi is renewing our longstanding commitment to making Canada central in our effort to protect and improve human health across the globe," explained David Loew, Executive Vice President and Head of Sanofi Pasteur.
"Vaccines save three million lives every year and this new facility will take us one step closer to a world where no one suffers or dies from a vaccine-preventable disease."
The new facility will allow Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, to meet the growing demand of five-component acellular pertussis (5-acP) antigen. Upon completion in 2021, the new building will also be equipped to produce the antigens used in the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.
"This project is one of the most important investments for the Sanofi global industrial network," added Philippe Luscan, Executive Vice President, Global Industrial Affairs, Sanofi. "It demonstrates our continued commitment to manufacturing excellence and to better serving our vaccines portfolio to people all over the world."
A guide to labelling compliance for medical devices
Small medical device manufacturers often find themselves scrambling to achieve the necessary compliance and validation, risking costly mistakes.
Validating systems and processes including labelling, to ensure they are compliant with stringent regulatory standards is tough and can be expensive. Indeed, compliance with the EU’s Medical Device Regulation (MDR) will cost more than 5% of annual sales, according to 48% of 101 companies polled by the German company Climedo Health, in July and August 2020 about their MDR-readiness.
But if companies bungle the software validation process or put incorrect and uncompliant data on the labels themselves, the penalties are likely to be more severe than just making corrections. Health and safety may be put at risk and fines imposed for failing to comply. When it comes to compliance, they may become overwhelmed with regulations in other geographic regions that focus on device traceability, each with a unique device identifier (UDI-like) component to it.
On the validation front, companies may not be familiar with the software validation process and the multiple tests and documentation necessary for validation are demanding if companies only have a small IT team that is very busy.
Putting a plan in place
MDR-compliant labelling, however, brings with it certain requirements which differ from what is demanded under the FDA’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) system rules. Under MDR, for example, manufacturers must ensure the label specifically states the device is a medical one using an MD symbol in a box. This is only one of many stipulations that usually require redesigned labels.
Small medical device manufacturers who rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual or legacy labelling processes to facilitate these label updates run the risk of mislabelling which can lead to non-compliance. They may have limited staff and no structured processes around roles and responsibilities when it comes to label design, changes and approval. As project leads work toward a compliant labelling process, it is therefore important to establish defined roles and access for each stage of the process.
When dealing with a compliance initiative, up to date, correct and compliant labelling is imperative. This involves having all the relevant label design elements in place to comply with the EU MDR or FDA regulations. Many times, label templates are hard coded, meaning IT must be involved in making changes. And with IT staff often being tasked with multiple mission-critical projects in the organisation, labelling projects can be delayed. For many small medical device manufacturers who have limited resources, finding a solution can be a challenge.
Why labelling in the cloud offers a roadmap forward
Validation-ready cloud labelling solutions have now emerged to ease compliance with regulations and time-consuming validation requirements. These solutions, built with the needs of regulated companies in mind, digitise the quality control processes and facilitate compliant labelling with role-based access, approval workflows and electronic signatures. Outside of compliance, carrying out labelling in the cloud drives scalability and productivity for small medical device manufacturers and boosts overall efficiency.
The latest cloud labelling solutions integrate with other cloud solutions, allowing for seamless functionality and minimising the need for local infrastructure resources and cost.
When it comes to validation, as with many labelling systems, those hosted in the cloud have vendor-supplied documentation that streamlines the process and significantly eases the burden when it comes to installation qualification (IQ). The manufacturer itself has a much lighter burden and a streamlined path to a validated system and process.
A more relaxed software release schedule eases the validation burden on life sciences companies because the software is updated once a year rather than multiple times. This gives them a continuously updated and maintained labelling solution without increasing the validation workload on their IT staff.
The manufacturer would of course need to work closely alongside the vendor and review the documentation, but, if needed, the vendor is able to do much of the work for them, providing not only the full validation acceleration pack but also professional services to assist with the validation process.
While some medical device manufacturers choose to tackle validation on their own, the vendor supplied validation acceleration pack or documentation helps to simplify the process. Consultancy and advice around validation is usually available from the vendor, tailored to the business’s specific needs.
Given the immense hassles of compliance for small device manufacturers, cloud-based labelling systems offer the benefits of a full label management system while easing compliance and validation. This is a future-proof technology. With a cloud-based labelling system, medical device manufacturers can be confident that they are running the most up-to-date software, enabling them to address the fast-changing new regulations and cope with whatever comes their way. And especially in the current pandemic, when face-to-face meetings are still problematic, it is a perfect way to keep labelling operations moving forward.