Covid-19 roundup: Pfizer CEO Bourla to write book about vaccine arms race; Chinese mRNA shot set for PhIII trial in Mexico
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has inked a deal with Harper Business for a book to tell the “behind-the-scenes” story of the company’s race to develop a vaccine, the Associated Press reports.
The book is titled “Moonshot: Inside Pfizer’s Nine-Month Race to Make the Impossible Possible” and is set to be released Nov. 9. Bourla plans to donate the proceeds to charity, the AP reported.
Bourla helped drive Pfizer’s unprecedented race to an emergency use authorization in just nine months, a previously unheard-of pace for vaccine development. And since, he’s worked to protect the intellectual property that undergirded that work.
“I am sharing the story of our moonshot — the challenges we faced, the lessons we learned, and the core values that allowed us to make it happen — in hopes that it might inspire and inform your own moonshot, whatever that may be,” Bourla, 59, said in a statement obtained by the AP.
Last week, the company announced that it generated $26 billion in 2021 revenue, which is more than $10 billion than initially expected. That’s more money than any drug or vaccine has ever generated, and good for 30% of the company’s total expected revenue in 2021. It’s also more than double the expected cost of R&D in 2021.
In a recent LinkedIn post, Bourla wrote a letter to employees opposing the use of IP waivers, emphasizing that there had been no infrastructure in place to create mRNA-based medicines or vaccines at the start of the pandemic, and claiming Pfizer had to build such a system from scratch. Roughly 280 different components or raw materials go into making the vaccines, Bourla wrote, and opening the floodgates could provide a chase for raw materials that could put doses at risk.
Pfizer’s partner BioNTech began work on the development of the coronavirus when CEO Ugur Sahin read about a new virus that appeared in Wuhan, China. In March, the collaboration was announced.
A Chinese mRNA vaccine preps for Mexico late-stage test
A Chinese-developed mRNA Covid-19 vaccine will undergo late-stage clinical trials in Mexico later this month, according to Reuters.
The Phase III trial for the jab from Walvax Biotechnology will start on May 30 with 6,000 volunteers, foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on his Twitter account.
Walvax is working with the Academy of Military Science and Suzhou Abogen Biosciences to jointly develop ARCoV. It’s the first Chinese mRNA vaccine to enter Phase III trials. Doses can be stored in refrigerators between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for six months, the company claims, much longer than the 30 days Moderna’s vaccine is approved for.
Mexico already has doses of vaccines from Sinovac and CanSino Biologics, two other Chinese drugmakers, and has plans to order shots from Sinopharm.
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