US drugmaker Pfizer is reportedly contemplating shifting more of its medicine production to outside contractors, the company said as it is focusing on large-scale production of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, provided it proves effective in curing the deadly coronavirus. Pfizer is working on four experimental Covd-19 vaccine candidates but doesn't want to compromise with its existing medicines for which it is trying to tap outside contractors.
The company has already started rolling out details about their manufacturing and launch plans even ahead of any clinical data. The company is planning to zero in on three sites in the United States and one in Belgium for the early stages of the launch, provided its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in collaboration with BioNTech gets green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Pfizer trying to outsource production
Pfizer reportedly is tapping its network of around 200 outside contractors to produce some of its existing medicines which have high demand in the global market. Some of the contractors the drugmaker is reportedly planning to outsource its production are US-based Catalent and Thermo Fisher Scientific and Swiss contract drugmaker Lonza Group.
However, Pfizer didn't disclose which companies it is in advanced talks with for outsourcing production. Outsourcing some of its manufacturing of its existing drugs will allow Pfizer to shift a portion of its production to four of its existing vaccine manufacturing factories. Pfizer plans to do bulk of the production in its largest plants in the United States.
Interestingly, Moderna, which is also developing a Covid-19 vaccine, last week tied up with Lonza to start manufacturing the yet-unconfirmed vaccine by July following the technology transfer to the Swiss contract drugmaker in June. Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Moderna an emergency approval to proceed with phase 2 clinical trials of a vaccine candidate it is developing to fight the deadly coronavirus.
Pfizer ramping up vaccine development
Understandably, Pfizer doesn't want to compromise with its existing medicines nor with the experimental Covid-19 vaccine candidates it is developing. Pfizer has already started planning the production of the vaccine. So far, it has drawn on sites in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Andover, Massachusetts, as well as St. Louis for the early stages of its mRNA vaccine ramp-up.
Pfizer is presently human testing four vaccine candidates alongside partner BioNTech, which will supply doses for clinical testing. The drugmaker is planning raw material manufacturing at its Lt. Louis facility and drug substance manufacturing in Andover.
Besides, the company also plans to manufacture portion of the vaccine in a plant in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer had earlier said that is hopeful about delivering millions of doses by the end of 2020 and further ramp up production in 2021.