BioNTech said the acquisition of a vaccine plant in Marburg, Germany, by pharmaceutical company Novartis would allow it to produce tens of millions more doses of vaccine per month – until approved by the regulator – from next year.
The plant is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2021, BioNTech said in a news release, and will retain its existing highly skilled workforce of 300 employees following the transfer from Novartis later this year.
“In full production operations, the manufacturing plant will increase BioNTech’s capacity to produce vaccines by about 750 million doses per year or by more than 60 million doses per month,” BioNTech said.
BioNTech plans to be able to produce 250 million doses of its vaccine candidate, BNT1
The company also reaffirmed its goal of getting the vaccine candidate ready to seek regulatory approval by early November this year.
Pfizer and BioNTech previously said they plan to provide 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate by the end of the year and up to 1.3 billion doses by 2021.
During a news conference Thursday, BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin said BioNTech-Pfizer would deliver some of the first 100 million available doses to the United States. “We will deliver vaccines to both the United States and Europe if the necessary approvals are obtained,” Shahin said.
BioNTech-Pfizer will seek simultaneous approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, he said.
“We have had many talks and are currently preparing documents that not only cover clinical data, but also data on product quality,” Shahin added.
In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense announced a $ 1.95 billion agreement with Pfizer to produce 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. The deal also allows the US government to acquire an additional 500 million doses.
Sahin told CNN in an interview last week that the two companies were confident they could have a coronavirus vaccine ready for regulatory approval by mid-October or early November.
“It has an excellent profile and I think this vaccine is … almost perfect and has an almost perfect profile,” Sahin said at the time.