Sanofi to help second rival produce COVID-19 vaccines

PARIS (AP)—French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, struggling for its own vaccine candidates against COVID-19, sends more of its manufacturing plants to industrial rivals by partnering with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture millions of doses of its competing coronavirus vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson is Sanofi's second competitor to make use of its facilities, a partnership that is already rare for competing companies under extreme regulatory demands to ramp up the production of vaccinations to fight the catastrophic global pandemic.

Sanofi's CEO Paul Hudson has confirmed that the company's deal announced on Monday reflects his "collective commitment to end the crisis as soon as possible."

In a company statement, Mr. Hudson said that Sanofi continues to give priority to the production of its own two coronavirus vaccine programmes.

"If we have the right production skills, however, we are making progress in showing solidarity in the industry and continue to play our part in the fight against COVID-19," he said.

Sanofi has said that its processing plant for vaccines Marcy l'Etoile in the city of Lyon is formulating and filling single-dose vials for Janssen Johnson & Johnson's companies.

Sanofi will combine together Janssen's vaccine ingredients and fill the vials, then return the entire bottles to Janssen for embalming.

From the second half of this year, the French plant is estimated to manufacture about 12 million doses per month.

Sanofi has already announced that its Frankfurt plant would now assist with the bottling and processing of 125 million doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech competitor collaboration.

French President Emmanuel Macron immediately trumpeted Sanofi's most recent declaration.

Because of high global vaccine demand and shortage issues, his government has forced Sanofi to help make vaccines from his rivals.

"We must jointly speed up vaccine production with industrial partnerships," tweeted Macron.