JAKARTADAILY.ID - Pfizer said that it will add a manufacturing facility for its antiviral COVID-19 pill in France as part of a five-year investment plan worth 520 million euros ($594 million), Reuters reported Monday (January 17, 2022).
The decision is part of Pfizer's aim to increase global manufacturing of paxlovid, a drug that has been shown in clinical trials to be nearly 90 percent effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths in people at high risk of critical disease.
According to Pfizer, the initial investment will involve the production of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for paxlovid at a plant owned by French pharmaceutical business Novasep, with more Novasep facilities being added next year.
"Novasep will produce API for use in our manufacturing network, expected to contribute to the overall (global) effort to produce 120 million courses of treatment in 2022," the firm said.
A representative for Pfizer revealed that the company expects Novasep's factory in Mourenx, south-west of France, to be integrated into its worldwide paxlovid supply chain in the third quarter of this year, with production expanding to include other Novasep sites in 2023.
The production timeline has been verified by Novasep, which also stated that technical transfer, on-site development, and equipment installation operations at the Mourenx facility will begin shortly, with the company aiming to hire more than 40 new personnel there.
The antiviral pill received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December and is currently being evaluated for possible approval in the European Union.
According to Pfizer, a portion of the 520 million euros will also go toward research in France, including collaborations with biotech companies there. However, the representatives declined to provide any other detail of its investments in research and production in France.