A French pharma hopes to obtain $100 million in aid from Quebec and Ottawa to manufacture anti-COVID-19 vaccines, in Boucherville, a suburb of Montreal.
At the beginning of January, Delpharm Industrie added an entry to the Registry of Lobbyists in which it expressed its desire to obtain “approximately $55 million at the provincial level, and a similar amount at the federal level under the biomanufacturing program”.< /p>
New building, filling lines, upgrading… Delpharm details what it plans to do on Quebec soil with public assistance.
“Application for a grant for the modernization and increased capacity of the plant located at 121 rue Jules Leger, Boucherville J4B 7K8, in particular for the potential manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines,” reads.
The address mentioned is that of the former Sandoz Development Center, owned by Novartis, which could not answer our questions, and returned the ball to Delpharm, which refused to grant an interview.
“We are still working on this subject so it would be premature to do this interview,” replied its deputy general manager, Stéphane Lepeu, by email, cutting short our questions.
Rare fact, after Le Journalcontacted Delpharm, items disappeared from the Registry of Lobbyists due to “a request for a confidentiality order” sent to the Quebec Lobbyists Commissioner (CLQ).
“The confidentiality order has requested and is currently being studied by the CLQ. A decision must be made shortly by the Commissioner,” explained his spokeswoman Marie-Noëlle Saint-Pierre.
FRENCH people already present here
Delpharm is headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. Its 5,500 employees manufacture one billion boxes of medicine per year. It has 18 sites, including one in Pointe-Claire. Its turnover is around $1.3 billion.
In France, Delpharm manufactured the “Made in France” anti-COVID-19 vaccines with Pfizer/BioNTech.< /p>
Last April, French President Emmanuel Macron visited the pharma factory in Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre, which was starting to make the vaccine.
In Quebec, however, Pfizer is not involved in the Delpharm Boucherville project, according to the multinational's spokesperson, Christina Antoniou.
At Medicago, which has as its majority shareholder a holding company of the Japanese giant Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, it is also said not to be aware of the file. Moderna did not respond to our questions.
In recent days, the office of the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, and that of the Federal Minister of Innovation, François-Philippe Champagne, have alternately indicated that they have not had a meeting with Delpharm.
< p>Yesterday, Montreal International (MI), which has the mandate to attract foreign direct investment and international organizations to our country, confirmed that it is working with Delpharm, without being able to say more.
“Delpharm does part of the many subsidiaries we support in Greater Montreal. However, we are bound by an agreement regarding the confidentiality of any project,” concluded the organization.
– With the collaboration of Olivier Bourque