Fosun Pharma teams up with BioNTech in pursuit of COVID-19 vaccine
Fosun Pharma Industrial announced a strategic development and commercialization collaboration with German drugmaker BioNTech to advance an mRNA vaccine in China for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.
The two parties will collaborate to conduct clinical trials in China leveraging Fosun Pharma’s extensive clinical development, regulatory and commercial capabilities in the country with the vaccine supplied by BioNTech's manufacturing facilities in Europe.
Fosun Pharma will be responsible for commercializing the vaccine in China, with BioNTech retaining full rights in the rest of the world.
They are among a number of pharma companies working to expedite vaccine research.
The US firm Moderna which also focuses on mRNA-based therapies sent its first batch of mRNA vaccines to the US National Institutes of Health for phase-one clinical trials in late February.
"A potential pandemic requires a collective effort and both companies are passionate about contributing to the fight against the current coronavirus outbreak, and our shared objective with BioNTech is to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus and to be able to rapidly manufacture a vaccine to turn the tide of COVID-19 infection," said Wu Yifang, President and CEO of Fosun Pharma.
Fosun Pharma would pay BioNTech up to US$85 million in licensing fees, and the German company would receive 35 percent of gross profit as sales commission during an agreed sales period.
It has also made an additional equity investment of US$50 million in BioNTech.
“We see this collaboration as an important step in our global effort to expedite the development of mRNA vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection and Fosun Pharma shares our commitment to move rapidly to address the COVID-19 outbreak and brings deep development experience and an extensive network in the pharmaceutical market in China,” says Founder and CEO of BioNTech Ugur Sahin.
Other drug firms like Sanofi and Janssen are working on other vaccine options. Sanofi's vaccine unit Pasteur is investigating a preclinical SARS vaccine candidate.
Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies is also expediting its investigative coronavirus vaccine program through partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
Other collaborations are also underway to screen its library of antiviral molecules to accelerate the discovery of potential COVID-19 treatments.