Pfizer to outsource brand products, making space for COVID-19 vaccine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Milkos)
(Image: Getty/Milkos)

Related tags Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine Coronavirus COVID-19

Pfizer looks to outsource more of its vaccine and intravenous drugs to free up capacity for potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Previously, the company announced that it would utilize four facilities across its global network in the production of its mRNA vaccine candidate​ for the novel coronavirus, working alongside its partner, BioNTech, to scale production up to hundreds of millions of doses.

In an interview with Reuters​, Mike McDermott, president of global supply at Pfizer, said that the company would need to create space to achieve this by outsourcing certain existing medicines to current partners.

Pfizer already works with a number of large contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs), such as Lonza, Catalent, and Thermo Fisher – though McDermott did not specify which organizations would take on the additional work.

The company already announced that it would have recruit additional staff to scale up production within its network for the production of the BNT162 vaccine candidate.

Pfizer had also noted it would need to invest in facilities to ready them for the potential capacity requirements of a successful vaccine, with McDermott stating that at least $150m (€138m) would be necessary.

In addition, the company would create additional shifts at its facilities and stockpile current products in anticipation of the change in production to the vaccine.

Part of the reason for shifting production to contract manufacturers is due to the potential shortage of basic material, in the form of vials and syringes, McDermott added.

Alongside work on a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer is still looking at expanding its portfolio of vaccines in other areas. The company recently signed a deal worth a potential $308m​ to partner on a vaccine for Lyme disease.

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