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Japan reserves 120m doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine

Published on 31/07/20 at 11:23am

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has sealed a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to secure 120 million doses of the pair’s SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-based vaccine candidate, known as BNT162.

The financial details of the deal were not revealed, but the delivery of these reserved doses is due to take place in the first half of 2021, at the request of the Japanese Government, in the event the candidate proves its efficacy in preventing infection with COVID-19 in clinical studies.

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world meant that Japan has been forced to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but it appears the potential of BioNTech’s therapy to provide the safety for the event to go ahead seems to have factored into this latest partnership.

Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said: “We are deeply honoured to work with the Japanese government and to marshal our scientific and manufacturing resources toward our shared goal of bringing millions of doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine to the Japanese people as quickly as possible.

“Under these difficult circumstances, we are proud to help support Japan in its steadfast determination to bring the world together at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in a celebration of solidarity, friendship and the power of sport as a global force for good. Our hope is that, subject to clinical and regulatory success, our potential vaccine will help make this happen.”

The sentiment was echoed by Dr Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, who remarked: “In bringing the world together at one place, for centuries, the Olympic Games have been a symbol of a global community. As a renewed version of that very spirit, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may become a symbol for all of us for how all nations around the world can overcome a global pandemic threat together. We are proud and honoured that our vaccine candidate may contribute to the efforts undertaken by the government of Japan to turn this vision into reality,”

This is the latest in a line of deals BioNTech has struck with national governments around the world to access its potential vaccine candidate, including 30 million doses to the UK Government.

Matt Fellows

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