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Sanofi signs deal to help make Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in the US

Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Recipharm plant in France.
Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Recipharm plant in France.GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP via Getty Images

The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Monday that it will help manufacture up to 200 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, starting in September.

Sanofi, one of the world’s biggest vaccine makers, has signed a deal with Cambridge-based Moderna to fill vials and finish packaging, the final stage of the production process, at Sanofi’s plant in Ridgefield, N.J. The doses are intended to boost the supply of the vaccine in the United States.

Moderna makes some of its messenger RNA vaccine at a sprawling factory in Norwood for its US market. It also has an agreement with a Swiss contract manufacturing partner, Lonza Group, which makes vaccine doses in Portsmouth, N.H.

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Moderna and Pfizer have deals with the US government for each to supply 300 million doses of their two-dose vaccines. The 600 million doses are enough for 300 million people, or most of the country.

The agreement with Sanofi is expected to run until April 22, 2022, according to a Sanofi spokeswoman.

On April 16, Moderna said it expected a shortfall in vaccine doses it will deliver to countries outside the United States in the second quarter, including Canada and the United Kingdom, because of issues with its European supply chain, where Lonza also plays a key role.

Sanofi’s announcement, which included no financial details, marks the third time the French company has agreed to help manufacture a COVID vaccine cleared for emergency use. Earlier this year, Sanofi said it would help BioNTech, a German company, make 125 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the European Union. In February, Sanofi announced that one of its manufacturing sites in France would help Johnson & Johnson produce its vaccine at a rate of about 12 million doses a month.

Sanofi also is helping two companies develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are in clinical trials. Sanofi has a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline for one of the experimental vaccines and a partnership with Lexington-based Translate Bio for the other.

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“We are one of the few pharmaceutical companies to leverage many industrial partnerships to improve global supply and access to COVID-19 vaccines while, in parallel, also continuing to develop our two COVID-19 vaccine programs,” said Sanofi’s chief executive, Paul Hudson.


Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.