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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is in talks to manufacture and distribute COVID vaccines

February 10, 2021, 6:15 PM UTC

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is in talks with COVID-19 vaccine makers about helping to produce and distribute shots as demand rises for immunizations.

The generic drug giant is offering to dedicate its manufacturing capacity in the U.S., Europe, and beyond to aid with mass-immunization efforts geared at combating the pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Kare Schultz said Wednesday.

“We have a large, worldwide network of manufacturing capabilities,” from creating underlying drug substances to putting solutions into sterile vials, known as the fill-finish process, he said in an interview. “There are a limited number of facilities that can do this kind of manufacturing, and it takes time to build them.”

Concerns about supply constraints have spurred some drugmakers that aren’t in the vaccine race to team up with those that are. Both France’s Sanofi and Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG have agreed to help produce shots made by the partnership of BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc.

Schultz declined to comment on which vaccine makers Teva could work with, saying that discussions are still underway. The company is equipped to make the active ingredients used in messenger RNA vaccines that are made by Moderna Inc. and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Teva has already reached a deal with the Israeli government to distribute shots from the partnership of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Israel’s inoculation rate dwarfs the efforts of other all other nations, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker, with 63.8 doses administered for every 100 people. Two doses are needed for full protection from vaccines now in use.

Teva handles all parts of the distribution process in its home country of Israel, including cold-chain storage for two-dose regimens that must be kept frozen and transportation to 400 vaccination centers around the country.

“We also have distribution capability in the U.S. and would be more than happy to help there,” Schultz said.

Teva has more than 60 facilities around the world, where it produces off-patent drugs, specialty generics and biosimilars. Schultz said he’d also be willing to working with developers of antiviral treatments.

The drugmaker’s American depositary receipts fell as much as 9.5% as of 11:30 a.m. in New York after issuing its full-year forecast. Its full-year sales outlook for aging blockbuster Copaxone came in higher than analysts’ estimates as part of a revenue projection that roughly mirrored Wall Street expectations.

With assistance from Yaacov Benmeleh.