Building on 2018 deal, Pfizer developing COVID-19 vaccine with BioNTech

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Pfizer is working with BioNTech to develop an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, the pharma disclosed Friday while outlining its plan to fight COVID-19. The news sent BioNTech’s stock up $2.38 to $30.93 Friday.

The companies partnered in 2018 to use mRNA technology from BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) to develop flu vaccines (see “BioNTech, Pfizer Sic mRNA on the Flu”).

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) also committed to collaborating with other biopharmas to develop vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19.

The pharma will make its assays, viral screening, translational models and data available on an open source platform. Additionally, Pfizer will share its clinical development and regulatory expertise with smaller biotechs; and it will use any excess manufacturing capacity, and may shift production, to support manufacturing of any therapeutic or vaccine.

Internally, Pfizer is assembling a “SWAT team” to accelerate the discovery and development of therapies and vaccines. The company said it also plans to work with the CDC, NIH and its National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to build a “cross-industry rapid response team of scientists, clinicians and technicians able to move into action immediately when future epidemics surface.”

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