Eurofarma will perform contract manufacturing activities within Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s global COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and manufacturing network.
At full operational capacity, the annual production is expected to exceed 100 million finished doses annually of the shot, which this week became the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive full use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
All doses will exclusively be distributed within Latin America, said Pfizer and BioNTech.
To facilitate Eurofarma’s involvement in the process, technical transfer, on-site development, and equipment installation activities will begin immediately. As per the agreement, Eurofarma will obtain drug product from facilities in the US.
Manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022.
“At such a difficult time as this one, being able to share this news fills us with pride and hope,” Eurofarma’s president, Maurízio Billi, said. “We are making available our best resources in terms of industrial capacity, technology and quality to this project.”
The deal comes as the Latin American region continues to struggle to secure vaccine doses, with Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director, Carissa Etienne, yesterday saying the severe shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean is a "wake-up call” for increased regional production of vaccines.
'An important step to broaden the access to vaccines'
Commenting on the deal with Eurofarma and vaccine equity, Ugur Sahin, CEO and cofounder of BioNTech, said:
“We have been continuously increasing the manufacturing capacity of our own facilities and included dozens of manufacturing partners into our global network. Together with Pfizer, we have delivered more than 1.3 billion doses and we plan to deliver 3 billion doses in total by the end of the year.
“Today’s partnership is an important step to broaden the access to vaccines in Latin America and beyond by expanding our global manufacturing network.
“We will continue to enable people worldwide to manufacture and distribute our vaccine while ensuring the quality of the manufacturing process and the doses.”
In terms of how they select contract manufacturers, Pfizer and BioNTech said the process is based on strict criteria ranging from a firm's approach to quality, compliance, its safety track record, its technical capability along with capacity availability, whether its workforce is highly trained, its project management abilities, whether it has had a prior working relationship with the partners and its level of commitment to working flexibly through a fast-paced program.