Pfizer is contemplating a partnership with German drug producer BioNTech SE to build vaccines for the coronavirus using BioNTech’s mRNA-based drug development platform, Pfizer’s R&D chief said Thursday
Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) Mikael Dolsten was one of the pharmaceutical delegates who attended a meeting with U.S. Prez Trump to discuss possible vaccines and treatments for the fast-spreading virus on Monday.
He had stated then that the group was working on finding an anti-viral therapy to treat sufferers who already have contracted the pathogen. However, he said Thursday that Pfizer was contemplating collaborating with firms like Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi SA and Moderna in the race to find a vaccine to inoculate healthy people.
Dolsten stated that Pfizer, which already partners with BioNTech on the development of mRNA-based vaccines for influenza, is also in the firm’s efforts in coronavirus.
BioNTech has been contemplating utilizing its mRNA platform to find a vaccine for coronavirus since earlier this year, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin stated in an interview last month.
An mRNA-based vaccine, which employs synthetic messenger RNA to help the body immunize itself against a pathogen, can potentially be developed and manufactured quickly than other traditional vaccines.
Moderna, which focuses on mRNA-based treatments, has already found an experimental coronavirus vaccine using a similar method to BioNTech. Moderna plans to start clinical trials of its vaccine later this month.
Dolsten provided more details about the firm’s attempts to develop potential anti-viral therapies for the novel coronavirus, which are at present being screened by a third-party firm to check how it performs against the pathogen in a laboratory setting.
Pfizer stated these compounds could potentially be used along with another antiviral therapy being built by Gilead Sciences called remdesivir, which is also under development.