As the public and private sectors continue to work together to find solutions to ensure the achievement of a global goal, holistic production is essential. At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, the biopharmaceutical industry began to increase its productivity while simultaneously researching and developing potential goals. The companies have created an unprecedented number of new production partnerships, building a global network of goal-setting goals at unprecedented speeds.

Approximately 300 production and distribution agreements exist worldwide that allow vaccine manufacturers to produce more COVID-19 vaccines and support the proposed delivery of more than four billion doses by the end of July. Protecting intellectual property has been key to helping partners easily share expertise and knowledge with trained manufacturers to support the growth of vaccine production.

This impressive and collaborative effort was not an easy task — increasing the production of the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely complex and requires overcoming a series of barriers at every step of the production process. For example:

The transfer of technology, required for production partnerships between companies, requires strict and long-term control measures, such as certification and certification of good production processes required by regulatory authorities. The industry, in collaboration with global regulators, has sought every opportunity to accelerate these control measures during the epidemic, greatly shortening the normal 24-35 months required to successfully complete technology transfers between companies.

Vaccine manufacturers should identify production partners who can meet the strict quality control standards of global regulators and perform the required quality control tests at each stage of the production process.

Finding supplies and other resources through a global network of suppliers to meet an unprecedented level of global demand is complex given the number of components required. For example, one COVID-19 vaccine requires 280 parts taken from 86 suppliers in 19 different countries. Companies are relying on the effectiveness of each supply chain item to produce life-saving vaccines.
Companies have developed and produced vaccines at record breaking prices, bringing doses worldwide. However, the need for increased access to the vaccine continues.

Unfortunately, some continue to focus on non-productive policies, suggesting that intellectual property rights (IP) rights should be curtailed. Such efforts fail to recognize that IP has not only been a barrier to access but has enabled global reach and unprecedented levels of collaboration between and between supplier manufacturers. Disabling IP rights will undermine cooperation and supply chains that are the basis for global production. Instead, leaders must prioritize overcoming real barriers to high productivity. Manufacturers of vaccines have four and will continue to evaluate all options to increase their production safely and sensibly. This includes recent industry partnerships with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and COVAX to introduce a “market place” to match the supply of essential ingredients and vaccine manufacturers that urgently need to produce COVAX vaccines.

By strengthening production capabilities, the biopharmaceutical industry and partners can continue to accelerate to the 11 billion doses produced by the end of 2021 and improve global reach in a beneficial way.