French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Monday that it would help Moderna produce its cutting-edge Covid-19 vaccine in the United States, as it pursues development of its own jab for the virus at home.
The company’s production site in Ridgefield, New Jersey, just outside New York City, will carry out “fill and finish” operations for up to 200 million doses starting in September for distribution worldwide.
“We are one of the few pharmaceutical companies to leverage many industrial partnerships to improve global supply and access to COVID-19 vaccines,” Sanofi’s British CEO Paul Hudson said in a statement.
The group is already helping Pfizer and BioNTech to produce millions of doses of their coronavirus vaccine for Europe, and is also packaging doses of the shot developed by Johnson & Johnson, the most recent to be added to the global fight against the pandemic.
Moderna’s vaccine is based on the same messenger RNA technology that Sanofi hopes to use for its own Covid shots, after its initial efforts were called off because of disappointing trial results.
If successful, that vaccine, being developed with the US biotech firm Translate Bio, would join what is fast becoming a crowded and highly competitive field.
While the US inoculation drive has raced ahead, the European effort has been stymied by a shortfall of doses, and much of the developing world is still waiting for vaccines to be made available.
Moderna is aiming to produce one billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year, and hopes to increase output to 1.4 billion doses next year.