French pharma giant Sanofi has entered into an agreement with BioNTech, to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine co-developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.
As per the agreement, Sanofi will manufacture 125 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in Europe. Initial supplies of vaccine are expected to come out of Sanofi’s facilities in Frankfurt from this summer.
Financial terms related to the agreement were not revealed by the parties.
Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said: “We are very conscious that the earlier vaccine doses are available, the more lives can potentially be saved. Today’s announcement is a pivotal step towards our industry’s collective goal of putting all the effort in to curb this pandemic. 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.
“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.
“As always, our top priority is to focus our efforts and capabilities on fighting this global pandemic. First and foremost, we will do this by continuing to develop our own COVID-19 vaccines candidates, in parallel with this industrial cooperation.”
The announcement comes at a time when Sanofi and its partner GSK have recently completed phases 1 and 2 of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
The companies plan to conduct a new phase 2 study next month to evaluate the vaccine with an improved antigen formulation to achieve high-level immune response.
If the data is positive, a global phase 3 could begin in the second quarter of this year. If the study is positive, regulatory submissions could take place in the second half of this year, with potential availability of the doses in the fourth quarter of this year, Sanofi said.
Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their Covid-19 vaccine candidate had neutralised SARS-CoV-2 with key mutations present in the UK and South Africa variants. The results were measured by the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).