Italy will produce the Russian Sputnik V vaccine for countries that have already authorized its use, but will be ready to manufacture doses for internal consumption once the shot is greenlighted on its soil, Vincenzo Trani, the president of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce (CCIR), told Sputnik.
On Monday, the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that it had struck agreements with companies from Italy, Spain, France and Germany to start joint production of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. In the case of Italy, a deal was made with Swiss-headquartered pharma company Adienne Pharma & Biotech, which has a facility in Bergamo. The Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce facilitated the agreement.
“The agreement is for the production, not for the distribution of the vaccine in Italy. ADIENNE will produce the vaccine for Russia but currently the doses, when they are produced, will be for the countries that have already approved the use of Sputnik V,” Trani said.
The Adienne plant will become operational in July and plans to manufacture 10 million doses by the end of the year, with hopes of reaching full-scale production in 2022.
“If before that date EMA authorizes the use of the Sputnik V vaccine in Europe and there are all the authorizations for its use in Italy as well, it will certainly be a great satisfaction to be able to produce the vaccine in Italy. However, until the EMA authorizes the vaccine, this remains a commercial production agreement. If it is not authorized in Europe, there are over 49 countries where Sputnik V is authorized,” Trani noted.
According to the CCIR chief, the deal for Sputnik V production is also an opportunity for Italy’s pharma industry.
“Sputnik V has proven its efficacy and received numerous positive evaluations from the international scientific community. The production and distribution model of the Russian anti-Covid vaccine is different from other medications. In fact, it follows the logic of local production, and in this type of production we saw an opportunity for Italian companies that are also at the forefront in the pharmaceutical sector,” Trani said.
He did not rule out that the Italian-Russian collaboration would expand to the other two Russian COVID-19 vaccines — those developed by Siberian research center Vector and the Moscow-based Chumakov research institute.
“I am sure that the production of the vaccine in Italy will bring to light other possible and interesting collaborations in the pharmaceutical sector where Italy has a front-rank industry. Combined doses or any other collaboration are also welcome, joining forces and sharing knowledge and skills is and will always be the recipe of success,” Trani said.
The CCIR’s role is to bring together businesses and opportunities from both markets.
“If there are new opportunities on the issue of vaccination, we will take steps to bring it to the attention of the Italian and Russian companies associated with us,” Trani added.
With the European Medicines Agency still reviewing Sputnik V, two EU nations — Hungary and Slovakia — have already approved the Russian vaccine via national emergency procedures.