Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer PFE said it is prepared to manufacture 50 million to 100 million vaccine doses for people who are found positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus, if they are needed.
The company is also testing hybrid combinations of the vaccine to focus on various forms of the coronavirus along with larger doses.
These vaccine doses that are targeting the omicron variant are being created “at risk,” CEO Albert Bourla said Monday.
Pfizer said it would pay the manufacturing costs if these new doses are not needed or used.
Pfizer will be ready to ship out these vaccines targeting omicron if there is a need, said Bourla at an annual healthcare conference sponsored by JPMorgan Chase.
He did not specify the number of doses that would be made, but Pfizer spokesman Steven Danehy said in an email to the Washington Post on Tuesday that the company hopes to have “50-100 million doses of the omicron specific vaccine available by late March/early April.”
Bourla said the company could switch its manufacturing capacity right away to accommodate a new vaccine.
The latest mRNA vaccine technology deployed by Pfizer and Moderna MRNA, along with BioNTech (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report, a German company, takes only 90 days to produce a different vaccine after a new strain is identified.
On Monday Pfizer said it agreed to a licensing deal with a San Diego-based , Codex DNA, where the development period could be lowered to 60 days, Bourla said. Codex DNA is a company that has created a synthetic DNA manufacturing process.
Moderna also said this week it could have an omicron-target vaccine by the fall to avoid a surge, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said at the conference.
The company is also working on a hybrid shot that would consist of a coronavirus and flu vaccine. Moderna's goal is to create an annual shot that is a single dose that would include several respiratory viruses