Novartis signs pact with BIoNTech to expand Covid-19 vaccines manufacture

SWITZERLAND – Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant, has announced its new agreement to farm out some of its manufacturing facilities in Slovenia to help manufacture much-needed doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

The sterile manufacturing site in Ljubljana, Slovenia, will be used to fill at least 24 million doses in 2022, and under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will take bulk mRNA active ingredient from BioNTech, fill it into vials, and ship it back to them for distribution.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is one of a handful that have been approved around the world in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, Novartis has produced more than 50 million doses of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine developed by German startup BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer at its factory in Stein, Switzerland.

The agreement follows one signed earlier this year, when Novartis began filling for BioNTech at its Stein site in Switzerland in June after receiving EMA approval.

Novartis continues to offer its world-class capabilities to other companies to take over manufacturing activities including a variety of technologies such as mRNA production and others,” the company said in a statement. “The specifics will be disclosed when we conclude specific agreements.”

Novartis is a leading global pharmaceutical company that uses cutting-edge science and digital technologies to develop game-changing treatments in areas of high medical need.

The company also recently announced a collaboration with Tencent for the digital transformation of patients and healthcare professionals to manage chronic heart diseases, in order to influence changes in how health systems approach cardiovascular disease.

According to Novartis, most countries are not doing enough to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of a 25% reduction in cardiovascular mortality by 2025.

Novartis continues to offer its world-class capabilities to other companies in order for them to take over manufacturing activities such as mRNA production and others. Specifics will be disclosed when specific agreements are signed.

So far, no COVID-19 vaccines have been manufactured or distributed in Slovenia. The country has recommended that mRNA vaccines be used first, with vector vaccines being used only if a person specifically requests it or if a person has contraindications to mRNA vaccines.

In related news, Pfizer recently announced Phase 3 study results showing that a booster dose of its vaccine was 95.6 percent effective against COVID-19 during a period when the Delta strain was prevalent.

The company assessed relative efficacy by comparing the results to people who only received two doses and no booster. More than 10,000 people aged 16 and up participated in the study.

These results provide further evidence of the benefits of boosters as we aim to keep people well-protected against this disease,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO, in a statement.

These important data add to the body of evidence suggesting that a booster dose of our vaccine can help protect a broad population of people from this virus and its variants,” said Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, in a statement.

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