Confusion around failure of deal to import possible COVID-19 vaccine

Focus Taiwan
Date: 11/03/2020
By: Chen Wei-ting and Matthew Mazzetta

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Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) A Taiwanese biotechnology company that said last month it had been authorized by a German company to sell a prospective COVID-19 vaccine announced on Tuesday that it had failed to negotiate a distribution agreement with Taiwan's government, but the two sides offered conflicting explanations as to the reasons why.

Taipei-based TTY Biopharm Company announced on Oct. 12 that it had reached a deal with Germany's BioNTech SE (BNT) to distribute its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently in Phase 2/3 of clinical trials in Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.

At the time, the Taiwanese company said it had been authorized to sell 30 million doses of the vaccine — enough to immunize 15 million people with the required two doses — and that it could provide the initial batch of 10 million doses as early as the first quarter of next year, if the government confirmed the order by the end of October.

On Tuesday, however, the company said the authorization had expired after BNT failed to negotiate an agreement with the Ministry of Health and Welfare during more than 20 days of talks.

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