EU in New Contract for 1.8 Bn Doses of Pfizer’s/BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine
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The European Commission (EC) has signed a new contract with Pfizer and BioNTech, a Mainz, Germany-based immunotherapy company, to secure 1.8 billion doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine. Separately, BioNTech has announced plans to establish a mRNA manufacturing facility in Singapore and to form a joint venture company with Fosun Pharma with which it is partnered with for the COVID-19 vaccine in China.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, reported in a May 8 statement and tweet that the European Commission signed a new contract with Pfizer/BioNTech for a guaranteed 900 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, with the option to purchase an additional 900 million for 2021–2023. She said that it secured additional doses to cover future needs, such as vaccinating adolescents, booster vaccines as may be needed to lengthen immunity, and addressing variants of concern.

Overall for all vaccines, to date (as reported on May 8, 2021), she said that the EU is on track to achieve its goal of enough doses being delivered to vaccinate 70% of the European adult population by July (July 2021). Approximately 160 million Europeans have received a first shot of the vaccine, which represents over 25% of the EU population.

BioNTech’s manufacturing expansion

Separately, BioNTech has announced plans to establish of regional headquarters for Southeast Asia and a mRNA manufacturing facility in Singapore. It also announced plans to set up a joint venture (JV) company with Fosun Pharma, a Shanghai-based bio/pharmaceutical company, for manufacturing and commercialization of Pfizer’s/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. BioNTech is partnered with Pfizer for the COVID-19 vaccine globally, excluding China, where BioNTech has a collaboration with Fosun Pharma for both clinical development and commercialization

The new mRNA manufacturing facility will provide regional and global supply capacity of BioNTech’s pipeline of mRNA-based product candidates as well as a rapid response production capability for Southeast Asia to address potential pandemic threats. The facility is being developed with support from the Singapore Economic Development Board.

BioNTech plans to open its Singapore office and initiate construction of the manufacturing facility in 2021, subject to planning approval. The company anticipates that the site could be operational as early as 2023 and will create up to 80 jobs in Singapore. The manufacturing facility will provide mRNA production capabilities across drug substance, drug product and fill–finish, with an estimated annual capacity of several hundred of million doses of mRNA-based vaccines depending on the specific vaccine.

The Singapore site will be the company’s second regional headquarters. In 2020, BioNTech established US headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For the JV with Fosun, the companies have agreed to provide $200 million in capital, with $100 million from each company. Fosun has agreed to make capital contribution of not more than $100 million in cash and/or in tangible or intangible assets, and BioNTech has agreed to make capital contribution in intangible assets including a license of relevant manufacturing technology and know-how of not more than $100 million. Each company will own a 50% share in the JV. The board of directors of the JV company will consist of six directors, three from each company. The chairman of the board shall be a director nominated by BioNTech and elected by the board of directors of the JV company.

Source: European Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen, BioNTech, and Fosun Pharma

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