French biopharma firm Sanofi claimed the grand prize for channeling EUR 300 million into the expansion of its biotech factory in Geel. Gunther Pauwels, general manager at Sanofi Geel received the trophy for Foreign Investment of the Year from Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. Sanofi’s investment received the majority of the votes after 3 voting rounds. In addition to a professional jury, the public also cast its vote online. During the awards ceremony, a final voting declared Sanofi the overall winner. Sanofi gained victory over four competitors: air-conditioning specialist Daikin (Japan), sporting goods retail chain Decathlon (France), vinyl flooring manufacturer IVC (US) and package delivery company UPS (US).
“We are thrilled with this trophy,” Mr. Pauwels commented. “We see it as a reward for 15 years of pioneering work. We are excited to remain on this path to make Flanders the biotechnology village of Europe.”
Through its award-winning investment, Sanofi will welcome 100 new employees in Geel. Its local production space will also be expanded by 8000 m2 for the creation of monoclonal antibodies – the active ingredients in the latest generation of biological medicines.