French drugmaking giant Sanofi (SNY) - Get Report has turned to rival BioNTech (BNTX) and its partner Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report in an unusual production collaboration that it says will speed up Covid-19 vaccination efforts in Europe.
Sanofi on Wednesday said it will give BioNTech access to a production facility in Frankfurt, which will start to deliver doses this summer. The arrangement will produce more than 125 million doses of the messenger RNA vaccine for the European Union.
The agreement will help the EU recover from an unexpected shortage of vaccines resulting from production missteps by Sanofi that have lowered the number of expected available does for the region.
Specifically, the arrangement will help accelerate the complex process of packaging and distributing the vaccine, which requires ultra-cold storage temperatures and in turn more intricate distribution logistics.
Sanofi has come under intense pressure to help produce approved vaccines, especially in France, where the company is seen as a national champion - and where its failure to rapidly produce a functioning vaccine has led to criticism of its domestic research and development policies.