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the world’s only producer of vaccines under pressure

Nestled a stone’s throw from the North Sea, on the edge of a forest, nothing predisposed the small Danish village of Kvistgard to sudden worldwide notoriety. This town of 1,100 inhabitants, located about 40 kilometers north of Copenhagen, and which houses the factory of the Bavarian Nordic laboratory in its industrial zone, has nevertheless become, in recent months, the epicenter of the fight against the epidemic. monkeypox.

The Danish factory is indeed the only producer in the world of the Jynneos and Imvanex vaccines, which are the only products authorized by the European and American health agencies for vaccination against this disease.

A singularity that has boosted biotech sales. Under the influx of orders, the pharmaceutical laboratory (255 million euros in turnover in 2021), whose stock market price has tripled in the last three months, revised upwards, in mid-July, its forecasts for 2022. It now anticipates revenues of between 363 million and 390 million euros, against 148 million to 188 million before the start of the epidemic in May. This estimate could still be raised soon as the number of patients worldwide continues to soar.

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“Over 35,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported in 92 countries and territories, and twelve deaths have been recorded”, said Wednesday, August 17, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. At the end of July, the UN agency, worried about the spread of the virus, which rages mainly on the American and European continents, had triggered its highest level of alert by qualifying the epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern. Its experts then estimated that it would take five million to ten million doses of vaccine to curb the current epidemic.

“Not sure I can answer”

With an annual production capacity of thirty million doses, Bavarian Nordic has so far estimated that it is able to meet this demand. But the rapid progression of the epidemic, with a number of cases which has doubled since this declaration, has revealed some changes in the discourse of the pharmaceutical company.

“The demand continues to increase, explained, on Wednesday, its vice-president, Rolf Sass Sorensen, and it is no longer certain that we can continue to meet the demand we face, even with the upgrade of our manufacturing site in Denmark. » A scenario that is reminiscent of the shortages of vaccines against Covid-19 observed at the beginning of 2021.

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