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Global pharmaceutical company Novartis announced Friday it signed an early agreement to boost manufacturing capacity for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
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The company intends to take mRNA ingredients from BioNTech, load it into vials at its site in Stein, Switzerland, and ship it back to BioNTech for global distribution, according to a company announcement.
The work will kick off in the second quarter of 2021, pending final agreements.
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“Novartis has been mobilizing on multiple fronts to support the global pandemic response,” said Steffen Lang, head of Novartis technical operations, in the news release posted Friday. “As a company reimagining medicine with advanced therapy platforms, we are committed to leverage our manufacturing capabilities to help support the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics around the world. We expect this to be the first of a number of such agreements.”
Novartis said its manufacturing team is in late talks with numerous companies to help shoulder manufacturing tasks like “mRNA production, therapeutic protein production [and] raw material production” for vaccines and therapeutics against the novel virus, which has claimed nearly 2.2 million lives worldwide to date, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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The Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out around the world, and accounts for over 14 million vaccinations in the U.S, while another 11.7 million Aemricans have received a vaccine developed by Moderna, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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