Boehringer Ingelheim breaks ground on its strategic vaccine production center for veterinary public health

  • The center will be one of the largest biotechnology production sites for veterinary vaccines in Europe
  • The company will invest 200 million euro into this high-tech complex, located near Lyon, France, and create around 100 skilled jobs

Boehringer Ingelheim is developing one of the largest biotechnology production sites for veterinary vaccines in Europe, building on France’s pioneering expertise in veterinary public health (VPH). The first brick was symbolically laid for this complex on Friday 20 September by French Minister of Agriculture and Food Didier Guillaume, President of the Lyon metropolitan area David Kimelfeld and Mayor of Lyon Gérard Collomb at the facility’s location in the commune of Jonage, in the eastern part of the Lyon metropolitan area.

This investment of more than 200 million euro will significantly increase production capacities for antigens and vaccines against highly contagious diseases, providing the means to fight animal epidemics that often have dramatic health and financial consequences, such as foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue disease.

“France’s highly favorable health situation is widely recognized internationally, as well as its high level of expertise in the veterinary field. However, in a context of global trade and global warming, vigilance is needed, whether it is foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever or avian influenza. Strengthening our vaccine production capacities is therefore a major strategic challenge at national, European and global level,” said Minister of Agriculture and Food Didier Guillaume during his remarks at the event.

This high-security, 15,000 m2 building will begin operating during the third quarter of 2022. Its five floors will be home to 35 cell and virus culture tanks, a purification area, a decontamination station and a strategic active ingredient reserve. This antigen bank will enable the company to quickly and efficiently respond to government orders in case of an epizootic outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or bluetongue disease. With this new site, the company is creating more than 100 skilled jobs.

“In the future, we will be able to supply millions of doses in a few days from Lyon for ring vaccination in affected areas to stop the progression of the disease. This is a major challenge given the impact of epidemics in the animal population,” explains Erick Lelouche, president of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health France.

VPH is one of Boehringer Ingelheim’s development priorities, and the company is a leader in this market segment, particularly for foot-and-mouth disease, rabies and bluetongue disease. For more than 70 years, Boehringer Ingelheim has been a trusted partner of governments, public health authorities and NGOs.

With this investment, the Lyon metropolitan area will strengthen its enviable position in the heart of the European ‘vaccine valley’. A global reference hub for life sciences, the Lyon region has become the nerve center for Boehringer Ingelheim in France. The group already employs more than 1,500 people at five sites, including Lyon Porte-des-Alpes in Saint-Priest, where vaccine formulation and packaging processes will be completed for vaccines produced in Jonage.

Key figures for the Jonage site:

  • 35 tanks
  • 23 km of piping
  • 13,000 m3 of cement
  • 400 people on the work site
  • 600,000 hours of work for construction and commissioning