The agreement will accelerate the supply of lipids and increase the amount of lipid delivery toward the end of 2021 so they can be used as part of the drug delivery system of mRNA therapies to the body, helping to make the vaccine effective, according to a news release.
Darmstadt, Germany-based Merck said it has worked to expand its already high lipid production capacity as it is currently combining with BioNTech to define exact requirements as they aim for a timely execution of the effort.
“What unites BioNTech and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is our strong belief in mRNA technology and our trustful collaboration in vaccine development,” Merck KGaA chairman and CEO Stefan Oschmann said in the release. “We are convinced that now is the time to pull together to supply as much vaccine as possible to the world. Extraordinary times like these require bold steps, and we are ready to take these steps to tackle one of the biggest challenges of humanity.”
Merck’s life sciences business segment is supporting more than 50 vaccine projects worldwide, offering research & development support with raw materials and products like proteases or antibodies.
Several companies have stepped forward to help companies that could, under normal circumstances, be considered rivals, such as Sanofi, which last month entered into an agreement that provides BioNTech access to its infrastructure and expertise to produce over 125 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Europe.