Tuesday 10 November 2020 2:57 pm

British chemicals firm strikes $100m deal with Pfizer to produce Covid vaccine

A British chemicals firm has inked an agreement with Pfizer to supply additives for the company’s breakthrough coronavirus vaccine, in a deal that could be worth as much as $100m (£75.5m).

Yorkshire-based Croda International today announced it has reached a five-year agreement with the US pharmaceuticals giant to produce four components in the production of its Covid vaccine.

The deal will see Croda subsidiary Avanti Polar Lipids manufacture substances that will allow Pfizer’s vaccine to be injected into patients.

News of the deal, which could be worth as much as $100m if Pfizer meets its rollout targets, pushed Croda shares up 6.1 per cent this afternoon to a record high of 6,602p.

“I’m very proud of Croda’s involvement in the battle to fight the most significant pandemic that we have seen in a generation,” said Steve Foods, chief executive of Croda.

“The application of our innovative capabilities is testament to the strong progress we have made to create industry-leading drug delivery systems, focused on developing speciality excipients and adjuvants to improve the effectiveness and stability of complex drug actives and vaccines.”

It comes after Pfizer and Biontech yesterday announced their experimental Covid vaccine proved 90 per cent effective in trials, electrifying stock markets around the world and boosting hopes for a return to normality by the Spring.

Pfizer described the results as a “great day for science and humanity”, as it released the first successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine.

The drug has so far been trialled in the US, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey. It uses an experimental approach that involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code to train the immune system to counter it.

Health secretary Matt Hancock today said the NHS has been asked to deploy the vaccine by Christmas, providing it passes requisite health and safety tests.

“We do need to be ready should a vaccine be licensed and get through all those hurdles and ready to roll it out,” he said. 

Pfizer and Biontech have signed a $1.95bn contract with the US government to deliver 100m vaccine doses beginning this year. They have also inked supply agreements with the EU, UK, Canada and Japan.

Pfizer yesterday said it believes it will supply 50m doses by the end of this year and around 1.3bn by the end of 2021.