Image credits: Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) via Twitter
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Mexico’s Participation In Sanofi’s COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 07/31/2020 - 11:41

Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard announced that Mexico will join Phase 3 of trials on Sanofi’s vaccine development. On a post on Twitter, he also mentioned that this would enable Mexico to have an early access to the resulting vaccine.

In an interview with MBN, Fernando Sampaio, General Manager of Sanofi-Pasteur México, said that the company has an active commitment with Mexico that began 90 years ago and this commitment is shown through the company’s investment in the country. “We are building a new vaccine production plant in Mexico, which is Sanofi's third in all of Latin America.” Sampaio detailed that the company was investing EU€129 million in this project, acting also as an ally to the public health sector. “Since we collaborate in a public-private participation scheme, this will allow Mexico to have its own manufacturing plant for seasonal influenza vaccines in the near future.”

Regarding COVID-19, Sampaio mentioned that Sanofi is investing in two strong vaccines, which has driven the company to collaborate with other actors of the industry, including competitors. Sanofi is one of the Top 10 pharmaceutical companies investing in R&D, alongside company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is one of Sanofi’s partners in the COVID-19 vaccine development.

MBN spoke with María Cervantes, Vaccine Medical Director at GSK Mexico, to know the company’s efforts in this development. “GSK is in preclinical trials of a vaccine with Sanofi. The latter provided the antigen component of the vaccine, while we provided the A S03 adjuvant system,” said Cervantes. The adjuvant system favors a positive immune response in those who get the vaccine. Cervantes also mentioned that GSK is part of the Coalition for Innovation in Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) based in Norway, which includes many industry entities such as WHO, governments and private companies. As part of CEPI, countries have the opportunity to start planning their vaccine supply.

Sanofi is also part of CEPI and so is Mexico. During an AMIIF Lab, Fernand Sampaio explained the company’s participation in the coalition. “This has paved the way for the development of effective vaccines, improving scientific, manufacturing and regulatory processes. So far, of all the candidate vaccines, 70 percent of the projects come from the private initiative and the remaining 30 percent from the academy and the public sector.”

During that same event, on behalf of the Mexican government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Javier Jileta, Director General of Civil Society Organizations Liaisons at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that “Mexico, being the only Latin American country in CEPI, shows its leadership at the global level to achieve inclusive and prosperous development.”

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst