Around a year later than planned, the development of Sanofi's corona vaccine is on the home stretch.

As the pharmaceutical company based in Paris announced on Wednesday, after positive study data, they are preparing to apply for approval of the vaccine in the EU and the USA.

Unlike the vaccines from Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna, which were previously considered particularly effective, the preparation is not based on mRNA technology, but on viral proteins.

It is therefore considered a "classic" active ingredient.

The French developed this similar to a flu vaccine together with the British manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

It is to be produced in France, Italy and the USA, said a Sanofi spokesman for the FAZ. The share of the largest pharmaceutical company in the EU was slightly up on Wednesday.

Werner Mussler

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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Niklas Zaboji

Economic correspondent in Paris

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In Europe, the vaccine is now being tested by the EU Medicines Agency EMA.

According to Sanofi, it has been shown to be 100 percent effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalizations related to Covid-19 in the pivotal phase 3 studies.

The effectiveness is 75 percent against moderate to severe corona diseases and almost 58 percent against symptomatic corona diseases.

The latter corresponds to the expected efficacy of the vaccine in the current variant environment and is comparable to the most recent clinical data from approved vaccines.

The vaccine should be able to be used as a universal booster vaccine in all age groups, regardless of the technology of the previously injected vaccines.

Lots of setbacks

"No other global phase 3 efficacy study has been conducted with so many variants, including Omicron, during this period," said Sanofi CEO Thomas Triomphe.

He expects the vaccine to be launched soon.

Its development was marked by setbacks: First, the wrong dose of the vaccine was administered to study participants, then it became difficult to find enough test subjects who had never been infected.

Sanofi was confident on Wednesday that it could play an important role in overcoming the corona pandemic despite the delays.

There is a need for a variety of vaccines and developing a protein-based vaccine is a proven approach.

In the summer of 2020, the EU began ordering Covid vaccines long before they were ready for the market.

The Sanofi vaccine was the second after that from AstraZeneca to be firmly ordered by the EU Commission.

The two vaccines, both based on conventional technology, were significantly cheaper than the Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, which were the first to be approved by the EMA in December 2020.

The price was the main reason why the EU Commission initially only signed contracts with AZ (400 million doses) and Sanofi (300 million).

She has not ordered anything from Sanofi since then.

The authority was criticized at the time, especially from Germany, because nothing of the mRNA vaccines that were ready for the market more quickly arrived in the EU at first.

The Commission preferred the French company - allegedly under pressure from Paris - regardless of the lack of development progress with its active ingredient and gave the German manufacturers Biontech and Curevac too little consideration, according to the German media at the time.

This criticism has now been settled: Shortly thereafter, the EU ordered 405 million doses of Curevac, in which the German state has a stake.

Brussels is likely to remain seated on this order – unlike Sanofi.

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