Spain’s Zendal interested in producing Sputnik V vaccine, government says

File photo. Staff members unload the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines upon their arrival at Tunis-Carthage airport in Tunis, Tunisia, 9 March 2021. [Mohamed Messara/EPA/EFE]

Spanish biopharmaceutical group Zendal wrote to Spain’s industry minister declaring its interest in producing Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in the country, an industry ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday (10 March).

Spain’s health ministry said earlier on Wednesday it was unaware of any contract to domestically manufacture Sputnik V after Moscow’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said it had struck deals in Spain, Italy, France and Germany.

Zendal’s letter to Industry Minister Reyes Maroto was forwarded to the health ministry, the spokeswoman told Reuters.

The French industry ministry had said on Tuesday no company in France had signed such a contract, appearing to contradict the head of RDIF, which markets the vaccine internationally and announced the deals earlier in the day.

Paris denies Russian reports of agreement to produce Sputnik in France

No company in France has signed a contract with Russia to produce its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, a spokesman for France’s industry minister said on Tuesday (9 March), appearing to contradict the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund.

The Russian Embassy in Madrid tweeted late on Tuesday that Spanish company IberAtlantic was negotiating a potential deal with RDIF and Zendal to produce Sputnik V at the latter’s laboratory in the northwestern region of Galicia.

Zendal did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter sent to the Industry Minister.

But asked earlier on Wednesday about a potential interest on producing the Russian vaccine, a Zendal spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the talks, saying the company had received several proposals regarding vaccines but that they remain confidential until negotiations are concluded.

Zendal said last year it would handle production in the European Union of the antigen of U.S. firm Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine project.

IberAtlantic, an international investments advisory company also based in Galicia and with business ties with Russia, is acting as local partner in Spain for RDIF, its chief executive Pedro Mourino told Reuters.

Mourino, who is also Russia’s honorary consul general in Galicia, said Zendal was one of the potential Sputnik V producers in Spain but declined to confirm or deny if there were talks with the company, citing confidentiality.

He said negotiations to find a Spanish producer were advancing “at a good rhythm and will probably lead to (signing) a contract”.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) began reviewing Sputnik V for possible approval last week.

An agreement to produce the Sputnik V vaccine  by the Swiss-based company Adienne in Italy has been confirmed by both RDIF and the Italian-Russian chamber of commerce.

Russia's Sputnik V could be made in Europe for first time after Italy deal signed

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 could be produced in Europe for the first time after a commercial deal to produce it in Italy was signed by the Moscow-based RDIF sovereign wealth fund and Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Adienne.

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