Frenchman Sanofi announced on Tuesday that it would participate in the production and packaging of the vaccine of the companies Pfizer and BioNTech against the Covid-19.
The French group is responding to a request from the government on the subject.
Nicolas Barré takes stock of a current economic issue.
Sanofi's two vaccine projects are not ready, the French pharmaceutical group announces that it will produce the vaccine of one of its competitors.
It is rare and it is clearly not the dream scenario for the world number 2 in vaccines.
Sanofi boss Paul Hudson himself admits that he never imagined this could ever happen.
But as he also says, this fight against this Covid-19 pandemic, "this is my Second World War".
In war as in war, Sanofi will make its production capacities available not to actually produce but precisely to bottle the vaccine from the German biotech BioNTech, owned by the American industrialist Pfizer.
From July, 15 million doses will leave the German factory of Sanofi each month.
This effort by the French industrialist, encouraged by Bercy, deserves to be commended.
The French state has pushed a lot for this solution.
Minister Delegate for Industry Agnès Panier-Runacher went to the front on this issue, as soon as we realized that Sanofi's vaccine projects were going to be delayed.
Thanks to this agreement between Sanofi and Pfizer, Europe will have 100 million additional doses during the second half of the year.
Europe is lagging behind since we only vaccinated two people per 100 inhabitants, which is three times less than the United States, five times less than the United Kingdom and twenty times less than Israel.
Sanofi, unlike the Merck laboratory which is associated with Pasteur, will nevertheless continue to develop its own vaccines.
Its main project, developed with the British company GSK, should be completed in the fourth quarter.
Sanofi is confident in its technology and even believes that there is a good chance, thanks to the presence of adjuvants, that it will prove to be more effective in dealing with the multiple variants that appear or will appear in the future.
Finally, Sanofi is also developing its own messenger RNA-based vaccine, like that of BioNTech, this time with the American biotech Translate Bio.
Here too, he is aiming for marketing towards the end of the year.
The boss of Sanofi, who spends six billion euros on research and development per year, denies having been too conservative in his strategic choices.
At the end of the war against the virus, it will still be necessary to take stock.
And understand what, in France, has not worked, or too late, in the development of vaccines when we have cutting-edge research in this area.