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German, US companies sign deal to develop vaccine

PortandTerminal.com, March 18, 2020

Germany’s BioNTech is to use its drug development platform alongside Pfizer to find a vaccine for COVID-19. It comes after Donald Trump reportedly tried to entice a German lab to develop a vaccine exclusively for the US.

NEW YORK / MAINZ, GERMANY – US drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech will immediately start work together on a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the companies announced in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Both companies have signed a letter of intent for the vaccine’s distribution outside China and they will decide on financial terms, manufacturing and possible commercialization over the next few weeks.

Share price for BioNTech
BioNTech share-price has risen sharply on the news that of its work on a COVID19 vaccine.

“This is a global pandemic, which requires a global effort. In joining forces with our partner Pfizer, we believe we can accelerate our effort to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to people around the world who need it,” said Ugur Sahin, Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech.

The companies said they would use BioNTech’s mRNA-based drug development platform and will use research and development sites from the two companies in both the US and Germany.

The two companies already work together to develop mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

A day earlier, BioNtech signed a deal with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical outlining its rights in China to its experimental coronavirus vaccine.

The companies are aiming to start testing on humans from late April.

Race for vaccine

On Sunday, German media reported that US President Donald Trump was offering large sums of money to German scientists working on a vaccine. He allegedly wanted to secure exclusive rights to the CureVac company’s work.

Immunity to the rapidly-spreading virus is seen as the most effective way to stop the global outbreak.

As of today, 214,000 people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus and 8,727 people have died.

Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc is also competing to develop a vaccine. The biotechnology company is collaborating with the US National Institutes of Health and on Monday announced that it dosed the first patient with its experimental coronavirus vaccine in an early-stage trial.

READ: We’ve Got The Vaccine, Says Pentagon-Funded Company – Defense One

In addition, a Canadian company  Medicago in Quebec City has already announced that they have produced a viable vaccine candidate for COVID-19.

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