Pfizer and BioNTech submit Omicron booster EUA application to US FDA

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 variants COVID-19 vaccine booster Fda

Pfizer and BioNTech have completed their application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a booster dose of their Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent COVID-19 vaccine: saying they stand ready to start shipping doses immediately.

A Conditional Marketing Authorization application has also been initiated with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and is expected to be completed in the coming days.

Distribution of the new vaccine will start next month, pending authorization.

Bivalent vaccine

The bivalent vaccine contains mRNA encoding the original SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is present in the original Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, together with mRNA encoding the spike protein of the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variant.

In the US, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking authorization for a 30-µg booster dose  for people aged 12+.

Pre-clinical data showed a booster dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine generated a strong neutralizing antibody response against Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 variants, as well as the original wild-type strain. A clinical study investigating the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older is expected to start this month.

The companies previously announced​ safety, tolerability and immunogenicity data from a Phase 2/3 trial of a 30-µg booster dose of their Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine candidate, which combines the existing vaccine and a vaccine targeting the Omicron BA.1 variant spike protein. The Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine elicited a superior immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant compared to the companies’ current COVID-19 vaccine. The Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine was well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile.

The two companies say they have already rapidly scaled production and stand ready to deliver doses of Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccines for September, and will begin shipping immediately pending authorization.

The agility of the mRNA platform, together with extensive clinical experience with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, has allowed us to develop, test and manufacture updated, high-quality vaccines that align to circulating strains with unprecedented speed,” ​said Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer.

“Having rapidly scaled up production, we are positioned to immediately begin distribution of the bivalent Omicron BA.4/BA.5 boosters, if authorized, to help protect individuals and families as we prepare for potential fall and winter surges."

Given the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, it's of great importance that vaccines can be rapidly adapted to the major circulating Omicron lineages,​” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.

“In less than three months after the FDA provided its guidance for adapted vaccines in the U.S., we are ready to ship the first doses of our Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine, pending regulatory authorization, to provide people in the U.S. with the possibility to get a booster adapted to the currently most dominant strain of the virus.”

Moderna has received the first authorization for an Omicron-specific bivalent vaccine, with the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) giving the booster the green light last week.

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