Pfizer & BioNTech partner up on COVID-19 vaccine

By Jack Grimshaw
Pfizer and BioNTech are putting their capabilities together to work on a vaccination for COVID-19, which could potentially be ready by the end of the ye...

Pfizer and BioNTech are putting their capabilities together to work on a vaccination for COVID-19, which could potentially be ready by the end of the year. The partners plan to begin testing candidates by the end of the month, which would lead to a sooner production date.

Regulatory hurdles will stand in the way of the collaboration, but the plan is for testing to begin on time, with manufacturing to begin scaling up “at risk” immediately after trials are completed. If FDA approval is secured by the companies, they could potentially begin providing worldwide support to the pandemic promptly. 

Millions of doses could be produced by the end of 2020, subject to technical success, with the scale up in capacity leading to hundreds of millions of doses being produced in 2021. Pfizer’s leading vaccine research and development infrastructure and capabilities will be paired up with BioNTech’s numerous mRNA vaccine candidates. 

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Trials for the COVID-19 vaccine will initially take place in the United States and across multiple sites in Europe, which is where BioNTech own GMP-certified mRNA manufacturing facilities. The two companies will also collaborate to commercialise the vaccination worldwide once regulatory approval is received. 

Mikael Dolsten, Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development & Medical at Pfizer, said: “Combatting the COVID-19 pandemic will require unprecedented collaboration across the innovation ecosystem, with companies coming together to unite capabilities like never before.”

“I am proud of Pfizer’s collaboration with BioNTech and have every confidence in our ability to harness the power of science – together – to bring forth a potential vaccine that the world needs as quickly as possible.”

BioNTech will receive $185mn in up front payments from Pfizer,with future milestone payments, an equity investment and a cash payment of $72mn making the deal worth up to $748mn. 

For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.

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