German pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced Monday it will help a smaller German biomedical company, CureVac, produce its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, the latest drug maker to offer up manufacturing capacity as supplies fall behind demand worldwide.
At a virtual news conference hosted in Berlin Monday by Health Minister Jens Spahn, Bayer’s pharmaceutical chief, Stefan Oelrich, said the company expects to produce 160 million doses of CureVac's experimental vaccine, which is currently in late-stage testing, in 2022.
Bayer and CureVac reached an agreement last month to work together on a vaccine. Oelrich said Bayer has experience and capacity to expand CureVac's production capacity.
CureVac's vaccine is still in the testing phase, and the company’s CEO, Franz-Werner Haas, said the vaccine his likely to be considered for approval "to produce up to 300 million doses by the end of 2021."
Given the issues encountered getting vaccine orders filled, Health Minister Spahn said it was in Germany’s – and Europe’s - best interest to have production and development capacities in the region and to support them as best they can – even if the vaccine production is a year out.