The Frankfurt site steps in: Sanofi also produces Biontech vaccines

Frankfurt office steps in
Sanofi also produces Biontech vaccines

Biontech tries to solve its problems in vaccine production through cooperation with other groups. A French pharmaceutical giant is now on board and will start production at a German location.

The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi plans to deliver more than 125 million doses of the Pfizer Biontech vaccine to the European Union from the summer. Sanofi wants to give the Mainz company Biontech access to its production infrastructure, the group announced. The aim is to take over "late-stage manufacturing steps" to support the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine. The first deliveries are to be made from the Sanofi production facilities in Frankfurt in summer 2021. A factory is to be used for this, in which Sanofi previously produced diabetes medication.

To do this, however, the systems at the Frankfurt-Höchst site must first be converted, as a spokeswoman for Sanofi Germany said. Because the vaccine from Biontech is based on the technology of mRNA messenger substances – unlike the vaccine that Sanofi is researching with the British pharmaceutical company GSK. The spokeswoman gave no information about the financial details of the deal with Biontech and Pfizer.

Total volume of production remains

The participation of the French pharmaceutical giant in the production of the corona vaccine from Biontech does not change anything in the overall scope of vaccine production, according to the Mainz company. A Biontech spokeswoman said that the planned two billion vaccine doses would remain.

Sanofi General Director Paul Hudson had already commented on the cooperation with Biontech / Pfizer on Tuesday. In an interview with the French newspaper "Le Figaro", he spoke specifically of wanting to help with filling the vaccine. This needs to be done in a sterile environment and at a very low temperature, he said. Since the Sanofi production in Frankfurt is close to the Biontech headquarters in Mainz, that will make things easier. "We should be in a position to deliver more than 100 million cans by the end of the year, which are destined for the European Union and thus partly for France," he said in the conversation.

Sanofi vaccine is a long time coming

At the same time, the company wants to continue working on its two Covid-19 vaccines. The corona vaccine development by Sanofi and GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) had recently been delayed. If further studies are successful, Sanofi expects approval of the recombinant protein-based vaccine around the end of 2021. At the same time, Sanofi is developing an mRNA vaccine in partnership with the US company Translate Bio. "You can't think of giving up," Hudson told Le Figaro.

In view of the massive demand for Covid-19 vaccines, Biontech is working flat out to expand its production capacities. Pfizer and Biontech are committed to delivering up to 600 million doses to the EU this year. The partners, like Astrazeneca, had to admit delivery problems because production at Pfizer's Belgian plant in Puurs had to be throttled first due to the expansion of capacities. The plant in Marburg, Hesse, which was taken over by Novartis and which is due to start production in February, should also bring relief. The US company Baxter also wants to manufacture the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer in Halle, Westphalia, from the end of February / beginning of March.

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