BioNTech-Pfizer Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Output Target Again
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With the ongoing global pandemic, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that they will be boosting their manufacturing capacity of the COVID-19 vaccine to 2.5 billion for 2021. Target vaccine production is a marked increase from their previous statement that their partners are likely to produce 2.3 to 2.4 billion doses. BioNTech and Pfizer are also expecting their product sales to reach up to $ 11.7 million.
Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said that the companies "are seeing increased demand. At the moment we have prepared ourselves to produce 2.5 billion doses, but in principle, there is room for further increase.”
The increase in production is set to be accommodated at BioNTech's new facility in the Marburg, Germany. Additionally, BioNTech and Pfizer also expanded their network of third-party manufacturers and suppliers to keep up with the demand for more vaccine doses. As of March 2021, the orders for the COVID-19 vaccine of BioNTech and Pfizer have reached 1.4 billion doses.
Just last week, BioNTech has supplied 200 million doses of their vaccine, also called BNT162b2 or Cominarty. For the first half of 2021, BioNTech expects to produce 250 million doses from the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant in Belgium and three other sites in the United States. The batches that will be manufactured in Marburg are expected to be distributed in the second half of April.
Aside from increasing their manufacturing capacity, BioNTech is also addressing the considerations for their vaccine, which are the need for long-term storage in ultra-cold temperatures.
Currently, BioNTech is working on two new formulations, one is a ready-to-use vaccine that can be stored in regular refrigerators, and the other formulation is a freeze-dried version that can be stocked by governments for future use.
BioNTech also has other projects beyond their COVID-19 vaccine production. Sahin mentioned that with their expected net income, they now have "a tremendous opportunity to reinvest the proceeds from our COVID-19 vaccine into extending and accelerating the research and development of new vaccines and therapeutics."
According to Sahin, the company currently have more than a dozen plans for clinical trials in oncology, which makes use of experimental mRNA treatments. In these studies, BioNTech will be focusing on melanoma and cancers of the head and neck, breast, kidney and liver. Aside from these, BioNTech is also working on other cell therapies that will recruit the immune system to detect and fight cancer cells.