PARIS – French pharmaceutical Sanofi announced today that it will help manufacture 125 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by its rivals Pfizer and BioNTech, given the delay of its candidate.
Germany’s BioNTech will initially produce the vaccines at Sanofi’s Frankfurt facility starting in the summer, Sanofi explained in a statement. The company did not disclose the financial details of the deal.
The French government has been pressuring Sanofi to use its facilities to help manufacture its competitors’ vaccines due to high demand and supply problems for the few vaccines that are already available.
“We are well aware that the sooner vaccines are available, the more lives can be saved,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in the statement.
Sanofi and its British partner GlaxoSmithKline will begin a new phase 2 trial for its Covid-19 vaccine next month, the firm added. The two pharmaceutical companies announced last month that their drug will not be ready until the end of 2021 because they must improve its efficacy among the elderly.
The European Union has received widespread criticism for the slow implementation of a mass vaccination program. The block approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and the European Medicines Agency will study on Friday to give the green light to the one developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.