In the wake of the global urgent public health need for a coronavirus vaccine, contract manufacturers have emerged as crucial stakeholders to ramp up supply for a potential vaccine. Like most other vaccine manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson signed a deal worth USD 480 million with Emergent Biosolutions, a USA based CDMO, for vaccine manufacturing and supply extending for a period of 5 years.
Under the agreement, Emergent is expected to begin large scale drug substance manufacturing for the recombinant DNA vaccine in early 2021 with an order value totaling USD 480 million for the first two years of the deal. In the later three years of the deal, annual batches will be manufactured and supplied under a “flexible capacity deployment model”. J&J also has a pact with Catalent to expand its capacity at its 875,000-square-foot facility in Bloomington for accommodating production of J&J’s potential vaccine once it is ready for commercial supply. Emergent too has an ongoing partnership with AstraZeneca for the supply of its Oxford-developed vaccine. Some notable contract manufacturing partnerships are indicated in the table below:
|Industry – CDMO Partnerships|
|Vaccine Company||Partner CDMO||Doses|
|AstraZeneca||Emergent BioSolutions||300 million doses|
|Serum Institute of India||1 billion doses|
|Moderna||Lonza||1 billion/ year for a period of 10 years|
|Catalent||Fill – Finish service|
|Johnsson & Johnsson||Emergent BioSolutions||Undisclosed|
Contract manufacturing partnerships have become pivotal for timely supply and capacity creation to address the global vaccine demand of at least 6 billion doses. It is noteworthy to witness biopharma manufacturers proactively stepping up to address the shortfalls in manufacturing capacity. Companies and governments are pitching alike in millions into capacity creation way ahead of vaccine licensure or even prior to obtaining proof of their safety and efficacy. Considering that the technologies involved in vaccine manufacturing could be largely different, there’s substantial financial risk in investing in manufacturing equipment and infrastructure for a specific vaccine type. However, from a public health perspective timely capacity creation is an imminent goal to ensure minimal delay in availability of the vaccine upon its approval for commercialization.