Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced they have completed a submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a booster dose of an Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 years of age and older.
The application follows guidance from the FDA to include clinical data from the companies’ bivalent Omicron BA.1-adapted vaccine and pre-clinical and manufacturing data from the companies’ bivalent Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted vaccine to address the continued evolution of SARS-CoV-2. Pending authorization, the Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine will be available to ship immediately.
A conditional marketing authorization application has also been initiated with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine and is expected to be completed in the coming days.
“The agility of the mRNA platform, together with extensive clinical experience with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, has allowed us to develop, test and manufacture updated, high-quality vaccines that align to circulating strains with unprecedented speed,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “Having rapidly scaled up production, we are positioned to immediately begin distribution of the bivalent Omicron BA.4/BA.5 boosters, if authorized, to help protect individuals and families as we prepare for potential fall and winter surges."
“Given the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, it's of great importance that vaccines can be rapidly adapted to the major circulating Omicron lineages,” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. “In less than three months after the FDA provided its guidance for adapted vaccines in the U.S., we are ready to ship the first doses of our Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine, pending regulatory authorization, to provide people in the U.S. with the possibility to get a booster adapted to the currently most dominant strain of the virus.”
The bivalent vaccine contains mRNA encoding the original SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is present in the original Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, together with mRNA encoding the spike protein of the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variant. Pre-clinical data showed a booster dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine generated a strong neutralizing antibody response against Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 variants, as well as the original wild-type strain. A clinical study investigating the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older is expected to start this month.
The companies previously announced safety, tolerability and immunogenicity data from a Phase 2/3 trial of a 30-µg booster dose of their Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine candidate, which combines the existing vaccine and a vaccine targeting the Omicron BA.1 variant spike protein. The Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine elicited a superior immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant compared to the companies’ current COVID-19 vaccine. The Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine was well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile.
Following guidance from the EMA and International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA), Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an application for the Omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent COVID-19 vaccine in July.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, which is based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology, was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. BioNTech is the Marketing Authorization Holder for BNT162b2 (Comirnaty®) in the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries, and the holder of emergency use authorizations or equivalents in the United States (jointly with Pfizer) and other countries. Submissions to pursue regulatory approvals in those countries where emergency use authorizations or equivalent were initially granted are planned.