Paris | The French laboratory Sanofi will produce the vaccine against COVID-19 from its competitors Pfizer-BioNTech in the second half of the year, “a first” in the pharmaceutical industry sector, said Olivier Bogillot, head of the laboratory for France on RTL radio on Wednesday , while defending the strategy of his group.
Sanofi announced in a press release on Wednesday morning, after revealing it in a press interview the day before, that it will give the American group Pfizer and the German biotech BioNTech access to its production tool from the summer 2021. Producers of authorized COVID-19 vaccines are indeed encountering production difficulties on a very large scale.
Under these conditions, Sanofi “will take charge of the final stages of manufacturing to provide more than 125 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine for the European Union”, according to this press release.
Producing for a competitor “is a first”, Olivier Bogillot underlined Wednesday on RTL radio, adding that “the stake is not at all economic but the ability to distribute them as quickly as possible”.
Mr. Bogillot also defended the strategic choices of his laboratory, strongly criticized since the delay of its main candidate vaccine.
“Moderna and BioNtech made this choice (of innovative messenger RNA technology) also because it was the only technology they had. We had several options. We chose an option that we had mastered, ”he said of the vaccine using recombinant protein technology that he is developing with the British company GSK.
But this vaccine, which was originally announced for the summer of 2021, suffered a setback after disappointing clinical trials. It “will happen by the end of the year.” We expect to have very good efficiency, ”said Mr. Bogillot.
“We will also explore the effectiveness of this vaccine on variants” of the virus, he said.