Chinese biotech giant Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group has managed to reach an agreement with a local distributor to supply it with a coronavirus vaccine candidate Fosun developed together with its German partner BioNTech. If the vaccine receives regulatory approval, Fosun has agreed to supply up to 10 million doses of its vaccine to both Macau and Hong Kong via its new distribution partner.
Fosun said in a statement on Thursday that it had signed an agreement with Hong Kong-listed distributor Jacobson Pharma. Under the deal, Fosun has agreed to provide Jacobson Pharma with 10 million doses of BioNTech's mRNA Covid-19 vaccine once it is approved for public use in China.
The biotech company, which is a subsidiary of Fosun International, initially received a license to exclusively develop and commercialize BioNTech's mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidate in China back in March. BioNTech also reached a similar deal with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for the distribution of its vaccine candidate in the United States and other countries.
Fosun Pharma is set to complete the clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in China in the next few months. The company stated that it expects to obtain regulatory approval before the year ends. Fosun Pharma's chief executive officer, Wu Yifang, mentioned in an interview that the vaccine still has to fully complete its clinical trials and regulatory review before it can be commercialized. However, Wu noted that he is confident that the company should be able to start distributing the product by the end of the year.
Pfizer has also made significant progress in its clinical trials in the United States, partly thanks to the vaccine having gotten a "fast track" designation from the country's Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer has reached several agreements with international distributors for the supply of up to 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. Pfizer expects to supply around 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021.
The vaccine being developed by both Fosun Pharma and Pfizer, which were supplied by BioNTech, is a form of treatment that utilizes mRNA sequences. Unlike normal vaccines, RNA vaccines have been proven to be much faster and cheaper to produce. These types of vaccines also have lesser side effects and are much safer for patients than traditional vaccines.