France ready for the production of anti Covid vaccines: Delpharm will produce Pfizer-Biontech doses, Recipharm will produce Moderna and Sanofi the Janssen vaccine.
In the heart of the French countryside, in the small town of Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre, in the extreme north of the Loire Valley, the French production of anti-Covid vaccines will start. To warm up the engines, already in recent weeks is Delpharm, which in the next few days will begin to inflate the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Then it will be the turn, by the end of April, of Swedish Recipharm. And Sanofi, engaged in phase III trials of its vaccine, will also make the Marcy-l'Étoile site available to increase production of Janssen's vaccine. Let's go step by step.
DELPHARM STARTS PRODUCTION OF PFIZER VACCINE
The production of Pfizer-Biontech's anti-Covid vaccines should start this week by the French pharmaceutical company Delpharm, which boasts 800 million euros in annual turnover and has 4,700 employees. The company, writes Le Monde , was awarded the production contract in October 2020 and made the news official on November 19, the day after the Pfizer-BioNTech alliance announced the 95% efficacy of the BNT162b2 vaccine.
The French company hopes to be able to fill up to 250 million doses per year. To achieve the goal, Delpharm had to readjust the production of the plant and the production lines, spending about 20 million euros, of which half comes from the state.
In particular, the French company had to implement the filling capacity, make the machines autonomous and create the cold chain, for the conservation of the vaccine at minus 70 degrees. “Our client sends us the vaccine, we are responsible for filling the sterile vials,” explained Stéphane Lepeu, head of Delpharm, in Le Figaro . "The vaccine reaches – 70 ° C and we have to send it back to this temperature, this is the main constraint".
PFIZER: WIDE NETWORK OF SUBCONTRACTORS
For the production of Pfizer-Biontech vaccines, it is not only Delpharm and, above all, only France that is at stake. “Pfizer BioNTech vaccine benefits from a large network of subcontractors for formulation and bottling in Europe. It relies both on large groups such as Sanofi or Baxter but also on a German industrial fabric made up of medium-sized companies ”, reports Les Echos.
RECIPHARM WILL WORK FOR MODERN
The Swedish Recipharm will produce Moderna's Covid vaccine, which will also be produced by the Swiss Lonza, the American Catalent and the Spanish Rovi. The biotechnology company will manufacture the vaccine at the French plant in Monts, which was taken over in 2007 by the Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca.
“We urgently made ourselves available to Moderna to fulfill this mission,” Jean-François Hilaire, executive vice president of Recipharm, explained to Le Figarò in the autumn. “Our factory, which produces anesthetics, will now operate 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Around sixty people were recruited at its Indre-et-Loire office for this contract. Two million euros were spent on the purchase of super freezers and containers, ”added Jean-François Hilaire.
WHAT RECIPHARM WILL DO
The Monts site, writes Les Echos , receives the active ingredient, RNA, frozen, from the European facilities in Lonza. The drug is then prepared and the filling, packaging, quality control and distribution operations follow.
ALSO SANOFI AT WORK (FOR JANSSEN)
French company Sanofi, on the other hand, opens the doors of the Marcy-l'Étoile plant to increase production of Johnson & Johnson's Covid.19 vaccine. The goal is to produce 12 million doses of the drug per month.
THE DESTINATION OF VACCINES
The vaccines produced by Recipharm are destined for Europe but also for the world market, with the exception of the United States.
The vaccines produced by Delpharm and Sanofi are also destined for Europe, and not only for the French market. "From now until the end of the year, Europe will become the continent that produces the largest number of vaccines in the world, up to three billion doses per year, compared to two billion in the United States," said Thierry Breton, Commissioner EU responsible for the task force on vaccines, on the occasion of the visit, on Easter day, to a factory in Chenôve, where the nanolipids of the Moderna vaccine are produced, as reported by Il Sole 24 Ore.
FRANCE AIMS FOR HEALTH INDEPENDENCE
Producing third-party vaccines, however, is not enough for France. In fact, Le Figarò writes, Paris aims at health independence. “It is our entire pharmaceutical fabric that needs to be rebuilt”, notes Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister of Industry, admitting “thirty years of deindustrialisation in the pharmaceutical sector”.
For the minister, in fact, in addition to packaging vaccines, France must also be able to control the production of the active substance in messenger RNA vaccines.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/come-la-francia-produrra-vaccini-anti-covid-19/ on Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:52:53 +0000.