PARIS (Reuters) – Sanofi will fill and pack millions of doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from July in an effort to help meet the huge demand for the U.S. drugmaker’s shots.
The French company will aim to help supply more than 100 million doses of the vaccine this year from its German plant in Frankfurt, CEO Paul Hudson told Le Figaro newspaper on Tuesday.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are, like other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers such as AstraZeneca, struggling to meet the huge demand for shots that are the world’s best bet for overcoming the pandemic.
Last month, Sanofi and Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline said a COVID-19 vaccine they are jointly developing had showed an insufficient immune response in older people, delaying its launch to late this year.
The company has been under pressure since to seek ways of helping with COVID-19 vaccines devised by other drugmakers as the pandemic intensifies again in Europe and elsewhere.
“Since our main vaccine is a few months late, we asked ourselves how we could be of assistance now,” Hudson was quoted as saying.
Sanofi is also working on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate with U.S. firm Translate Bio which uses mRNA technology, similar to the approach of Pfizer/BioNTech. Phase I trials are expected to start this quarter.
Hudson confirmed in the interview that Sanofi remains committed to its two vaccines projects.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Mark Potter)