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Evonik starts lipid deliveries for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ahead of time

Thu 22nd April, 2021 10:13am
April 22 (Reuters) - German chemicals group Evonik
Industries  EVKn.DE  has started delivering a key ingredient for
the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ahead of time, in a boost
for the pair's efforts to ramp up production. 
    Evonik said on Thursday it had set up lipid production at
its site in Hanau, Germany, in eight weeks, much more quickly
than expected, and started to deliver the first batches to be
used in the vaccine. 
    The main ingredient in the Pfizer/BioNTech  PFE.N 
 22UAy.DE  vaccine - the messenger RNA (mRNA) that helps prompt
an immune response against the coronavirus - must be packaged
inside lipid nanoparticles to protect the fragile material from
degradation once it has been injected into people.    
    In February, Evonik had said it was expanding production of
lipids for the vaccine and expected to be producing commercial
quantities in the second half of 2021.*:nL8N2KH3HP
    "Increasing lipid production in Germany will also allow us
to further accelerate the manufacturing of larger quantities of
the vaccine," Chief Executive Christian Kullmann said in a
    Germany's Merck  MRCG.DE  is also producing lipids for
BioNTech, while other companies including Sanofi  SASY.PA  and
Novartis  NOVN.S  have offered manufacturing capacity to provide
millions of doses of the vaccine.*:nL8N2K44CD
    Several manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines have had problems
securing supplies, limiting availability and slowing vaccination
campaigns, for example in continental Europe. 
    In March, Evonik's deputy chairman Harald Schwager said the
lipids production should start contributing to sales from the
second half of 2021 and generate revenues in the three-digit
millions in the coming years.*:nL5N2L20ZI

 (Reporting by Bartosz Dabrowski in Gdansk. Editing by Mark
 ((; +48 58 7696560;))
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