A new agreement between Sanofi and BioNTech grants the latter access to Sanofi’s infrastructure to aid manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccine BioNTech has co-developed with Pfizer, granting them the ability to make more than 125 million doses for Europe from summer on.
“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,” Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi, said. 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.”
Sanofi is currently pursuing two vaccine candidates of its own, in collaboration with GSK and Translate Bio, respectively. The GSK candidate uses that company’s pandemic adjuvant platform and the same recombinant protein-based manufacturing technology as one of Sanofi’s existing seasonal flu vaccines. It has already been through a phase 1/2 study that showed favorable immune responses among younger patients but lower immune responses among those aged 50 and older. A phase two study will commence in February.
Separately, Sanofi is developing an mRNA vaccine with Translate Bio. While a phase 1/2 study has yet to begin, preclinical data determined that two doses of the vaccine provided high neutralizing antibody levels comparable to the upper range found in the naturally infected.