2020-12-17| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

Fosun to Import 100 Million Doses of BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine into China

by Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin
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COVID-19 has now lasted for almost a year, and the world has witnessed how the fight against the pandemic has evolved from active quarantine, lockdown to unprecedented pace in vaccine research and development. Recently, Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, was given emergency approvals in a handful of countries, including the UK and the US. Now China’s Fosun Pharma (Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) is importing 100 million doses of BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine into China. Back in March, Fosun signed a strategic collaboration with BioNTech for the development and marketing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Fosun Pharmaceutical will make an initial payment of 125 million Euros for 50 million doses by December 30th and the remaining 125 million Euros after receiving authorization to commercialize the vaccine in China. As per the agreement, Fosun is entitled to 60% of annual gross profit from the sales of doses that it will make from imported bulk ingredients and 65% profit from sales of imported doses ready for use.

“We are pleased to reach the supply agreement with BioNTech, which is an important step in Fosun Pharma and BioNTech’s efforts to achieve vaccine accessibility and affordability in China,” said Wu Yifang, Chairman and CEO of Fosun Pharma.


Condition for Approval in China

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine has a 95% efficacy and no serious safety concerns, according to a crucial Phase 3 clinical data published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Approximately 44,000 participants were evaluated in over 150 clinical sites across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and South Africa.

Although the efficacy of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine demonstrated a remarkable immunity to novel coronavirus in participants mostly from Western countries, it was imperative to substantiate whether the vaccine efficacy was consistent in Asian countries as well.

Before the import, Fosun and BioNTech launched a Phase 2 clinical trial of the vaccine candidate in China to assess the safety and immunogenicity in 960 Chinese participants. The results were paired with global data from Pfizer-run Phase 3 trials, facilitating a better chance of approval. With its success, at least 100 million Chinese are to be benefited with better immunity to coronavirus at an affordable cost.

On December 15th, health officials in one of the counties in Northern Heilongjiang province said they would start offering COVID-19 vaccine doses to the general public for a cost of US$ 64/shot. However, the identity of the vaccine was not revealed.


International & Domestic Partnerships

BioNTech is not the only company that Chinese pharmas have collaborated with. In a deal with British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, China’s Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products plans to have enough capacity to produce at least 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222.

Besides international partnerships, China has granted emergency-use status to four home-grown vaccine candidates; two from state-owned Sinopharm, one from Sinovac Biotech, and one from CanSino Biologics (for military use). Amongst these candidates, one of the two vaccines from Sinopharm has shown 86% effectiveness and commenced vaccination in the United Arab Emirates after regulators approved it on December 9th.

By Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin

Related Article: Singapore Becomes First Country in Asia Pacific to Greenlight Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine



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