Sanofi steps up to deliver 125m doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Sanofi will carry out the fill and finish for up to 125 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine from its facility in Frankfurt, Germany.

In further evidence of Big Pharma working together to tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Sanofi has agreed to help produce of Pfizer/BioNTech’s approved messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine.

The vaccine will be made from a Sanofi fill-finish facility in Frankfurt, Germany. The facility is more akin to filling and finishing insulin for the French Biopharma but from the summer it will produce over 125 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the EU market.

Image: iStock/Grindi

“We have made the decision to support BioNTech and Pfizer in manufacturing their COVID-19 vaccine in order to help address global needs, given that we have the technology and facilities to do so,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson.

“Although vaccination campaigns have started around the world, the ability to get shots into arms is being limited by lower than expected supplies and delayed approval timelines owing to production shortages.”

Sanofi has its own COVID-19 vaccines in its pipeline: an mRNA vaccine in development with Translate Bio, and a recombinant protein vaccine based on the firm’s baculovirus expression platform – the same technology used to make its influenza product, Flublok – being codeveloped with GlaxoSmithKline.

However, neither vaccine is expected to be available this year. The Translate Bio project is poised to start Phase I/II clinical trials, while the GSK collaboration has been hit by delays following the report of Phase I/II study interim data in December.

The news comes as European countries begin a vaccine rollout and amid an ongoing saga regarding a shortage of expected supply, particularly of AstraZeneca/Oxford University’s vaccine, which is yet to be approved by the bloc, though a decision is expected this week.

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