From a small community tucked in the midst of the Pocono Mountains Region a major company is focused on making the world a healthier place. With headquarters in Swiftwater in Monroe County, Sanofi Pasteur U.S., the vaccines division of France-based Sanofi, is the world’s largest producer of influenza vaccine and the producer of a host of other vaccines that are impacting global health. Dr. Richard Slee, a Brooklyn doctor, founded the Swiftwater vaccine manufacturing site in 1897, as the Pocono Biological Laboratories. Since then, the site has operated under various names and now stands as Sanofi Pasteur’s U.S. headquarters.
Sanofi Pasteur’s site produces vaccines to help protect against influenza, meningitis, diphtheria and yellow fever. In addition to its licensed vaccines, the company is undertaking research and development into a range of other projects, including Dengue fever and Clostridium difficile vaccine candidates. Sanofi’s vaccines division provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine annually, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people worldwide. The company’s vision statement is to have “a world in which no one suffers or dies from a vaccine-preventable disease.”
Sanofi Pasteur: Economic Booster Shot
With more than 2,100 employees, Sanofi Pasteur is recognized as one of the Pocono Mountains Region’s largest employers. The company draws talent to the region in the area, including research, industrial operations, marketing and functions that support its business operations, such as finance and human resources. As one of the largest employers in the region, Sanofi Pasteur recruits a large number of employees from the Pocono Mountains and neighboring Lehigh Valley region.
The company supports local educational institutions to develop talent in the biotechnology fields and offers internship opportunities to the students in the biotechnology programs. In the second half of 2014, Sanofi Pasteur began construction of a facility to manufacture its Dengue vaccine candidate, upon licensure. In 2015, the company began construction of a new quality control facility and a new Global Clinical Immunology (GCI) facility, supporting both its research and industrial operations teams. These buildings are expected to be completed in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Company officials said community support for its business and infrastructure needs is critical to Sanofi Pasteur’s operations. Infrastructure projects since 2001 include a municipal potable water supply, a 69,000-volt dedicated electric supply and substation, a natural gas pipeline, and a regional wastewater treatment facility. All of these infrastructure projects have supported the growth of the company and have additional capacity for future site growth.
Partner With the Community
Sanofi Pasteur U.S. partners with Pocono Mountains communities to support local educational institutions and human service nonprofit organizations. An example of this is its annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser, which has provided more than $1.6 million in donations to various local nonprofit organizations. Educational grants have supported Northampton Community College’s Biotechnology associates degree program and East Stroudsburg University’s Science & Technology Center.
“As a native of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and a site lead for Sanofi Pasteur’s U.S. headquarters in Swiftwater, I am inspired by the actions of my colleagues at Sanofi Pasteur and Sanofi, along with our fellow community partners, who have rallied community pride and passion to meet critical needs of our neighbors,” says Frank Epifano, vice president, North America & Global Finance, Commercial Operations. “Our fundraising activities within the community are another way we work to give back to the region that has helped Sanofi Pasteur continue to grow and improve lives worldwide.”