Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. has selected its sprawling Kalamazoo facility as one of three in the U.S. that will initially manufacturer a COVID-19 vaccine that scientists across the globe are racing to develop. Pfizer is investing in the 1,300-acre pharmaceutical facility in Kalamazoo to “actively scale up manufacturing capacity and distribution infrastructure to bring a promising vaccine candidate to the world,” according to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.
Whitmer said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today Show” that Pfizer’s production of a COVID-19 vaccine is “not imminent, but it’s on the horizon.” Whitmer, who has imposed broad restrictions on economic and everyday activities in the state over the past eight weeks to mitigate spread of the deadly coronavirus, continued, “We can’t resume normal life until we have a vaccine.”
The New York City-based pharmaceutical company also plans to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine at its facilities in Andover, Mass., and Chesterfield, Mo.
Clinical Investigational Sites
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) has administered the first American patients with its experimental vaccines to fight the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, part of a bid to shave years off of the typical time it takes to develop a new inoculation. The trials are being conducted at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Additional clinical trial tests on patients through the BNT162 vaccine program are planned to begin soon at the University of Rochester Medical Center/Rochester Regional Health in New York and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, according to a Pfizer news release.
“The short, less than four-month timeframe in which we’ve been able to move from pre-clinical studies to human testing is extraordinary and further demonstrates our commitment to dedicating our best-in-class resources, from the lab to manufacturing and beyond, in the battle against COVID-19,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
Partnership with BioNTech SE
Pfizer has partnered with the German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) on a COVID-19 vaccine that includes four different potential vaccines. They have started with a group of healthy adults ages 18-55 years old. A first cohort of clinical trials was completed last week in Germany, according to Pfizer.
Pfizer and BioNTech are in a race with companies including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc. and dozens of other biopharmaceutical outfits and academic groups to come up with a safe and effective vaccine against the illness within the next year to 18 months. A handful are in human trials already, including Moderna’s and ones from CanSino Biologics Inc., the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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