Pfizer Inc. plans to tap mRNA technology to make new vaccines for other viruses following the success of its COVID-19 shot, which was developed jointly with German partner BioNTech SE, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The drugmaker said it was ready to pursue mRNA on its own following its experience in the past year working on the COVID-19 vaccine, the WSJ reported, citing an interview with Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla.
It did not, however, disclose any details about the viruses it was targeting.
Pfizer and BioNTech did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
BioNTech's U.S.-listed shares were down 1.1% before the opening bell.
Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines, authorized for emergency use in the United States, use mRNA technology.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines work by inserting synthetic mRNA that instructs cells to make a pathogen's proteins or protein bits, spurring the immune system into action.
The success of the technology is prompting drug developers to consider its use in other areas of medicine beyond vaccines such as cancer treatments, attracting billions of dollars in investment.
Other companies such as Germany's CureVac NV, Gilead Sciences, Sanofi, and Translate Bio are also developing mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics.
Last March, Pfizer had announced a deal with BioNTech to use the Mainz-based company's mRNA-based platform to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, extending the companies' existing partnership to develop flu shots.
Bourla said Pfizer has now developed its own expertise in developing mRNA vaccines, the Journal report said.
Pfizer's current vaccines business, which includes its pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13, brought in nearly $6.58 billion or about 16% of the drugmaker's total sales last year.
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