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Novartis to help make Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine

Geneva - Drugmaker was joining the push to remedy the shortfall.

By Reuters

Published: Sat 30 Jan 2021, 7:56 AM

Last updated: Sat 30 Jan 2021, 7:58 AM

Swiss drugmaker Novartis has signed an initial agreement to provide manufacturing capacity for Pfizer and Biontech's Covid-19 vaccine, a move aimed at helping boost production as supplies fall shy of demand.

Also read: Sanofi to make 100 million Pfizer vaccine doses

Subject to reaching a final agreement, Novartis plans to commence production in the second quarter of 2021, the Basel-based company said on Friday, adding it would use manufacturing facilities at its site in Stein, Switzerland, near the Rhine River on the German border.

Three vaccines from Western companies Pfizer-Biontech, AstraZeneca and Moderna have been approved by regulators, but limited production and delayed deliveries have hampered efforts to quickly vaccinate people most at risk for COVID-19.

Novartis's announcement that it was joining the push to remedy the shortfall follows a move by Sanofi this week to work with Biontech to supply 125 million doses of its mRNA vaccine to the European Union.

"Novartis has been mobilizing on multiple fronts to support the global pandemic response," said Steffen Lang, head of Novartis Technical Operations.

Novartis, which did not give specifics on how much drug substance it would produce for Pfizer-Biontech if the deal goes through, added it is in "advanced discussions" with additional companies to take on production of mRNA, therapeutic protein and other raw materials for vaccines and therapeutics.

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