Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )
Pfizer and BioNTech's mRNA vaccine has already been approved for emergency use in countries such as the US, the UK, and Singapore
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd on Wednesday said it will buy at least 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from Germany's BioNTech SE for use in mainland China next year if the vaccine receives approval.
China has been rapidly developing its own Covid-19 vaccine candidates and ramping up production facilities, but local firms have also been partnering with foreign developers to supply the world's most populous country.
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group said its subsidiary had entered into an agreement with the German firm aimed at ensuring "an adequate supply" of vaccines in China, adding it will make an initial payment of 125 million euros ($152 million) before year-end for 50 million doses.
Pfizer and BioNTech's mRNA vaccine has already been approved for emergency use in countries such as the US, the UK and Singapore.
Its vaccine is based on cutting-edge technology that uses synthetic versions of molecules called messenger RNA to hack into human cells, and effectively turn them into vaccine-making factories.
China has granted emergency-use status to two candidate vaccines from state-backed Sinopharm and one from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. It has approved a fourth, from CanSino Biologics Inc, for military use.
Separately, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co Ltd aims to have enough capacity to produce at least 100 million doses of a vaccine candidate from British partner AstraZeneca PLC by year-end.
Late on Tuesday, Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding Co said it has agreed to double the supply of the Sputnik-V vaccine to its Russian home. It now aims to make enough doses for at least 40 million Russians next year.
The jabs will cost 420 yuan ($64), but the statement did not clarify which vaccine was being offered.
Fosun Pharma has brought two BioNTech candidate COVID-19 vaccines into clinical trials in China and is yet to receive regulatory approval for either.
Fosun Pharma is majority-owned by Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate that owns France-based resort giant Club Med and travel firm Thomas Cook.