Sinergium Biotech plans to start construction of a $50 million primary antigen production plant in the Buenos Aires suburb of Garin, Argentina, next to the company’s current production facility.
The plant will employ more than 100 people and is set to be completed in 2019, according to Sinergium’s parent company Grupo Insud.
The new plant will enable Sinergium to fully develop a flu vaccine, as well as vaccines for other conditions, using the same technology it will employ for the development of a Zika virus vaccine, the company’s business development director Fernando Lobos told Argentina’s EFE news agency on Saturday.
News of the plant follows an announcement last month by Sinergium that it will shift its vaccine production from cell culture technology to more efficient recombinant technology designed to allow the company to respond faster to pandemics of influenza or diseases such as Zika, chikungunya, and rotavirus.
At its current Garin plant, Sinergium produces flu vaccines and a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine through tech-transfer partnerships with Novartis and Pfizer, respectively. Sinergium also produces the tetravalent vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) through a strategic alliance with the Argentine subsidiary of Merck & Co., Merck, Sharp & Dohme.
Sinergium’s current plant is a GMP facility with an area of 20,000 square meters (215,278 square feet) and an annual productive capacity reaching 30 million syringes and vials.
Last year, Sinergium joined Protein Sciences and Fundación Mundo Sano, a private foundation of Grupo Insud, in forming a consortium to develop a Zika vaccine.
Sinergium agreed to pay an undisclosed up-front fee to fund development and manufacture of the vaccine by Protein Sciences and using its proprietary technology. In return, Sinergium will receive manufacturing and commercial rights to the vaccine in Argentina and other counties. The partnership has since expanded to include Liomont Laboratory of Mexico and UMN Pharma of Japan, Mundo Sano said earlier this year.