2022/01/11 - Press

Animal health: to meet the growing needs of vaccine prevention, Virbac transforms its Carros site

visu_vignette_corpo_bio5.jpgConstruction of a global center of excellence for biological products has begun in Carros.

We have begun construction of a global center of excellence for the manufacture of veterinary biologicals at the Carros site. Our objective is to install state-of-the-art technologies in a modern and sustainable infrastructure to competitively produce increasing volumes of vaccines as well as new biological products under research and development. This center of excellence will be a model site for the development of biology at other current and future Group sites around the world. While the construction of a high-tech line for the aseptic packaging of vaccines has already begun, we have launched a study for a major project to build a new manufacturing site for biological active ingredients in 2021. Through this project, we wish to reinforce our desire to invest in the Alpes-Maritimes region to increase our production capacity and thus meet future needs in animal health. We are also keen to maintain and develop the skills and know-how of our current and future employees from the regional pool.

Due to the rapid evolution of prevention needs, particularly vaccines, on a global scale, we must adapt our production capacities for both existing products and new vaccines in order to better respond to demand, including emerging demand from certain countries such as China.

As a showcase for our unique expertise, the historic Carros site, established 50 years ago, is our largest production center for companion animal vaccines. Our investment plan for this site aims both to enable us to remain competitive with foreign competitors and to develop the technologies of the industry of the future in the service of animal health. Ultimately, the transformation of the Carros vaccine site into a center of excellence in biology will strengthen our control of the production chain up to the delivery of finished products.

The first step in this transformation plan is the construction of a new state-of-the-art production unit for the pharmaceutical formulation of vaccines. Operational in 2023, this new unit will increase our production capacity for our current vaccines thanks to higher production rates and the digitalization of our production and analytical control operations. It will also eventually accommodate the production of new vaccines, for all countries, for companion animals and potentially for food-producing animals. 

The second step is the construction of a new building in the next few years dedicated to the active ingredients used in the manufacture of vaccines. This building, designed to meet the highest environmental standards and pharmaceutical requirements (GMP), will house production activities as well as a quality control laboratory. The modular and adaptable concept of the production areas will allow for new bio-technological platforms in the future. This new structure will also be an opportunity to improve and adapt our manufacturing processes, notably through the automation of numerous steps, to facilitate large-scale industrial production, while taking into account the improvement of our environmental footprint. 

These changes will be accompanied by the creation of a biology academy to develop the skills of our teams, particularly in industrial engineering, biology technology platforms and sterility control in industrial environments, which are particularly innovative sectors. It will contribute to the implementation of modern production techniques for Virbac and to the consolidation of our know-how in the region. This project is essential to develop our competitiveness in this highly technical industrial activity with the vocation of serving the needs of animal health worldwide. 

Finally, this project is part of the government's stimulus plan to support industrial investment programs in six strategic sectors (national component) and with a strong territorial dimension (territorial component). Within this framework, our company is a winner of the France Relance "industry territory" call for projects: a €900,000 grant has been awarded to us, supplemented by a €500,000 grant from the Region.

Sébastien Huron, chief executive officer, Virbac group: "We are delighted with this future center of excellence in biology, which will give us new means to continue to improve animal health. This project will also bring positive spin-offs for our region thanks to the safeguarding of know-how in pharmaceutical biotechnologies, which is rare in our territory in the animal health sector, and thanks to the development of technical skills through our own training academy. In addition, the modernization of our production tool will allow us to reduce our energy and water consumption for a more eco-responsible production.