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Coronavirus

Investors applaud Fosun role in promising Pfizer COVID vaccine

Unit of Chinese conglomerate has partnered with Germany's BioNTech

Under a deal reached in March, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group agreed to buy $50 million of BioNTech stock and provide $85 million toward vaccine development and production.   © AP

SHANGHAI -- Shares in the main pharmaceuticals unit of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International rose sharply on Tuesday as investors applauded its role in what could be a breakthrough global COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer, the U.S. pharma group, and Germany's BioNTech said on Monday that their candidate mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 had demonstrated efficacy of over 90% based on an analysis of its pre-manufacturing phase 3 clinical trial, usually the last hurdle before a drug goes into production.

Under a deal reached in March, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group agreed to buy $50 million of BioNTech stock and provide $85 million toward mRNA vaccine development and production. The two then conducted clinical trials of a sister vaccine called BNT162b1 in China.

Shares of Fosun Pharma closed up 14.2% to HK$37.35 in Hong Kong in response to the news of BNT162b2's success.

BioNTech shares have more than tripled in value since the agreement between the two companies was announced.

Fosun said the study result is a milestone in the battle against the pandemic, which has affected over 50 million people globally.

"This marks a victory for science and for global collaboration," Guo Guangchang, Fosun's chairman and co-founder, wrote on social media on Monday night.

He said his company will coordinate closely with relevant authorities, hoping to promote use of the vaccine "as soon as possible." Under its agreement with BioNTech, Fosun has rights to distribute its German partner's mRNA vaccines in China.

While Fosun was celebrating, rival Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech saw a clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil suspended due to a "severe adverse effect" with one of the participants. Brazilian officials are to provide details on the test situation later on Tuesday.

Sinovac is listed on New York's Nasdaq Stock Market.

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