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September 16, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Pfizer notes some side effects to vaccine experienced by trial participants – Germany commits €745m to BioNTech and CureVac

By Allie Nawrat

16 September 2020 

Novavax has expanded its existing deal with Serum Institute of India, increasing its production capacity of Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, to more than two billion doses per year as of 2021. As part of the amended agreement, Serum Institute will also make the antigen component of NVX‑CoV2373.

Germany has granted $745m in funding to domestic firms BioNTech and CureVac to help accelerate their work on Covid-19 vaccines and improve manufacturing capacity in the country. Of the total funding, BioNTech will receive $445m, subject to reaching certain milestones. The health ministry is also said to be in discussions to provide funding to a third company, IDT Biologika.

Pfizer has said that some Phase III clinical trial participants were experiencing mild-to-moderate side effects with its investigational Covid-19 vaccine candidate. During an investor conference call, the company executives noted that more than 12,000 study participants had received a second dose of the vaccine candidate, according to Reuters; the company has recruited more than 29,000 volunteers so far. Pfizer added that it was continuously analysing the safety and tolerability of the vaccine candidate.

Lonza has entered into an agreement with Humanigen to manufacture the latter’s Covid-19 therapy lenzilumab. The deal will allow Humanigen to leverage Lonza’s monoclonal antibody manufacturing and regulatory expertise. It also provides Humanigen with additional capacity for production of the drug candidate, with operations expected to begin next year.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Aurobindo Pharma in India have partnered to develop Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Three CSIR labs – Cellular and Molecular Biology, Institute of Medical Technology, Chandigarh and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology – are  working to develop the vaccines using various technology platforms. Aurobindo Pharma will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation of the vaccines.

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