Pfizer and BioNTech preparing ‘millions’ of COVID mRNA vaccines
The two partners announced the partnership mid-March, but released more details regarding their vaccine development program at the end of last week.
Initially, the two companies are working to push multiple COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidates into clinical trials, with these expected to commence by the end of this month and take place in the US and Europe.
Alongside the clinical focus, it was announced that there are plans to scale up manufacturing capacity to produce millions of doses of vaccine during 2020 and escalate that into the hundreds of millions during 2021.
During the early stages of the partnership, BioNTech will provide clinical supply of the vaccines from Europe before scale up will allow for suitable capacity to meet worldwide demand.
In terms of the financials, Pfizer will pay BioNTech $185m (€169m) upfront. Further to this, the latter company will be eligible to receive milestone payments up to a total of $563m.
All developments costs for the vaccines will covered by Pfizer. Once any potential treatment is approved, both partners will jointly commercialize the product, except in China – where BioNTech has an existing collaboration with Fosun Pharma.
The partnership will add to the growing pipeline of therapies entering trials to potentially treat or vaccinate against COVID-19.
Roche has progressed an existing therapy into Phase III trials and begun to expand production capacity, should it be successful. In addition, Johnson & Johnson announced that it had selected its own vaccine candidate, though this would not enter clinical studies until September of this year.