By Peter Loftus 

Drugmaker Sanofi SA has signed an agreement to help manufacture as many as 200 million doses of Moderna Inc.'s Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. starting in September, Sanofi said Monday.

France-based Sanofi said it would fill vials and finish packaging for Moderna's vaccine at Sanofi's plant in Ridgefield, N.J. A spokesman for Sanofi said the finished doses of Moderna's vaccine would be for the U.S. supply in an agreement that runs through April 2022.

The agreement is the latest adding manufacturing capacity to increase supply. It is also a fresh example of industry collaboration in the effort to quickly scale up global production of Covid-19 vaccines.

Novartis AG and Merck & Co. are among those that have formed agreements to help make other companies' Covid-19 shots.

Moderna, of Cambridge, Mass., plans to deliver a cumulative total of 300 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine for use in the U.S. by the end of July, which is expected to help meet President Biden's goal of vaccinating the majority of American adults by summer.

Pfizer Inc. with partner BioNTech SE and Johnson & Johnson also are supplying vaccine doses to help meet that goal. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are given as two doses a few weeks apart, while J&J's is a single shot.

Because Sanofi's contribution isn't due to start until September, the Moderna vaccine doses it helps make might be directed toward vaccinating children under 18 years old, assuming the vaccine becomes authorized for them, or for booster shots if they are needed to sustain immunity among adults.

It is also possible the Sanofi capacity could be used for Moderna's modified Covid-19 vaccines that are targeting newer variants of the coronavirus. Moderna is testing one such vaccine in a clinical trial, and has said it might be able to file for regulatory authorization of the shot in the third quarter.

A spokesman for Moderna said the company can't specify which products Sanofi will handle or in which proportions.

For the U.S. supply, Moderna manufactures the drug substance -- the main component of the vaccine -- at its plant outside Boston and at contract manufacturer Lonza Ltd.'s plant in New Hampshire.

The company has previously lined up other manufacturing partners to help with fill-finish of doses, including Catalent Inc. and Baxter International Inc.

Moderna has a separate supply chain for its Covid-19 vaccine outside the U.S., including a Lonza plant in Switzerland. This supply chain has recently experienced problems that caused Moderna to reduce the doses it expects to deliver to Canada, the U.K. and a number of other countries in the second quarter.

For Sanofi, Moderna's shot is the third Covid-19 vaccine the French company will help manufacture. It previously agreed to help make more than 125 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Europe. And it will help make about 12 million doses a month of J&J's Covid shot in Europe.

Sanofi also is developing its own potential Covid-19 vaccines, one in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline PLC and another with Translate Bio Inc.

Write to Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2021 07:14 ET (11:14 GMT)

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