Pfizer, BioNTech jointly work on coronavirus vaccine

By Aysu Bicer

ANKARA (AA) – U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer together with a German company, founded by a Turkish national, will be working on the co-development and distribution of a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection.

The collaboration aims to accelerate development of BioNTech’s potential first-in-class COVID-19 mRNA vaccine program, BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of April 2020, said a statement issued by BioNTech on Tuesday.

“We are proud that our ongoing, successful relationship with BioNTech gives our companies the resiliency to mobilize our collective resources with extraordinary speed in the face of this worldwide challenge,” said Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer and president of global R&D.

The companies expect to utilize multiple research and development sites from both companies, including in the US and Germany, to house the activities identified by the collaboration agreement.

''This is a global pandemic, which requires a global effort. In joining forces with our partner Pfizer, we believe we can accelerate our effort to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to people around the world who need it,'' said Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s founder and CEO.

Pfizer last week issued a five-point plan calling on the biopharmaceutical industry to join the company in committing to unprecedented collaboration to combat COVID-19.

– Conducting trial with Fosun Pharma

BioNTech will also work with Fosun Pharma on conducting clinical trials of BNT162 in China, leveraging BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine technology and Fosun Pharma’s clinical development and commercialization capabilities in China.

The two companies will work jointly on the development of BNT162 in China.

"Fosun Pharma will commercialize the vaccine in China upon regulatory approval, with BioNTech retaining full rights to develop and commercialize the vaccine in the rest of the world," the statement stressed.

It said Fosun Pharma will pay BioNTech up to $135 million in upfront and potential future investment and milestone payments; the two companies will share future gross profits from the sale of the vaccine in China.