Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday said they have agreed to co-develop an mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection, building on a previous R&D collaboration focused on influenza. The partnership covers BioNTech's mRNA vaccine programme BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of April.
"We believe that by pairing Pfizer's development, regulatory and commercial capabilities with BioNTech's mRNA vaccine technology and expertise…we are reinforcing our commitment to do everything we can to combat this escalating pandemic, as quickly as possible," remarked Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer. Dolsten disclosed earlier this month that the drugmaker was mulling a collaboration with BioNTech to develop vaccines for COVID-19.
Under the new agreement, Pfizer and BioNTech will partner on the co-development of BNT162, as well as on it distribution outside China. The companies indicated that they expect to utilise multiple R&D sites, including in the US and Germany, to house the activities identified by the collaboration agreement. Meanwhile, they said that financial terms of the deal will be finalised over the next few weeks.
The partnership with Pfizer comes shortly after BioNTech entered a deal with Fosun Pharmaceutical to advance BNT162 in China for the prevention of COVID-19 infections.
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