MADRID, 19 June (APM) - Pfizer is changing its manufacturing processes to guarantee capacity for producing a Covid-19 vaccine, head of the company's operations in Spain Sergio Rodríguez told financial newspaper Cinco Días carried an interview on Thursday
Rodríguez, who is also vice president of Spanish branded pharma lobby Farmaindustria, said that the clinical development of a Covid-19 vaccine is unprecedented. He said that over the past few years, the company has been working in the field of mRNA-based vaccines.
Pfizer has partnered with BioNTech and is currently assessing four investigational vaccines. If results are positive and they get healthcare authorities' approval, by the end of this year millions of doses would be available. In 2021 production capacity could be boosted to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses, he told Cinco Días.
He said: "This situation is new to all of us and this means we have had to adapt to a practically unknown reality under the same premise, which is getting as fast as possible to making a vaccine available. This requires agility and a solid commitment to maintain safety our priority."
Asked about how the development has been funded, he said that the company has invested €890 million this year in this project.This includes changing production in four plants so that 20 million vaccines will be available this year and hundreds of millions in 2021. Additionally, three manufacturing plants in the U.S. (Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri) and one in Belgium have been identified as suitable to be added to the company's production premises.
According to Rodríguez, the world's scientific community is stronger when knowledge, tools and data are shared in real time, which is key to be able to react in emergency situations. He added: "Science will prevail."
Hopes for dexamethasone in Covid-19 fight
On Wednesday, daily newspapers ABC and El Mundo reported that this affordable medicine, sold at €39, can reduce mortality by around 20% in severe Covid-19 patients. Both emphasised the price of the drug.
On Thursday, daily newspaper El País carried a story about dexamethasone warning that it is reasonable to administer the medicine in ventilated patients but that it can be dangerous if used in cases which do not meet the trial criteria. Spanish clinicians have been using dexamethasone in this situation from March, El País reported.
Spain out of vaccine alliance
Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands are already purchasing vaccines, whereas Spain is out of the process, daily newspaper ABC reported on Monday. (APMHE 67753
The health ministries of these four countries have created an alliance with manufacturer AstraZeneca in order to complete the purchase of €400 million worth of Covid-19 vaccines, the newspaper reported.
"While we are still going around de-escalation phases, some European countries are moving towards vaccine acquisition," ABC said.
AstraZeneca sources have guaranteed that, if its investigational vaccine eventually works, 100 million doses will be available by the end of this year, daily newspapers El País, 20 Minutos, financial newspaper El Economista and a number of regional newspapers reported on Sunday.
PharmaMar president calls Zepzelca approval 'historic'
Accelerated U.S. approval of PharmaMar's Zepzelca (lurbinectedin) for adults with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is "historic", president José María Fernández Sousa-Faro told daily newspaper ABC on Wednesday. (APMHE 67776
The approval comes as a "reward" following years of investment in research and takes PharmaMar to a leading position in the fight against cancer, the newspaper said.
Financial newspaper Cinco Días carried a story about the approval on Wednesday.
Germany's CureVac planning Nasdaq listing
Financial newspaper Expansión on Tuesday reported that Germany's biotech company Curevac is planning a listing on the New York-based Nasdaq stock exchange.
The news was disclosed shortly after the German government announced plans to invest €300 million in the firm, the financial noted. (APMHE 67759
Biotech association calls for increase in public R&D investment
Spanish biotech association ASEBIO has called for an increase in Spain's public R&D budget, financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on Thursday. (APMHE )
Medical journals Acta Sanitaria and Diario Médico also carried the story on Thursday.