GSK (GSK) to support manufacture of Novavax' (NVAX) COVID-19 vaccine
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Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, GSK and the UK Government Vaccines Taskforce announced that they have reached an agreement in principle to support manufacturing of up to 60 million doses of Novavax' COVID-19 vaccine candidate (NVX-CoV2373) for use in the UK. GSK will provide 'fill and finish' manufacturing capacity at its Barnard Castle facility in the North East of England beginning as early as May 2021, with a rapid technology transfer between the two companies beginning immediately. GSK and Novavax will negotiate a final agreement to include additional terms and conditions.
The UK Government has secured 60 million doses of the vaccine under an advance purchase agreement with Novavax. The protein antigen component of NVX-CoV2373 is also produced in the North East of England by Novavax' manufacturing partner, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, at their site in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees.
Fill and finish, to be provided by GSK, is the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing, preparing vials of the final vaccine and packaging them for distribution and use. The GSK site at Barnard Castle, which will deliver the vaccine doses under this collaboration, is a specialised facility in GSK's global manufacturing network, which supports production of GSK pharmaceutical and vaccine products.
Roger Connor, President, GSK vaccines, said: "GSK is delighted to support Novavax and the UK Vaccines Taskforce with this manufacturing arrangement for the UK and our Barnard Castle facility is now undertaking the rapid preparation work required to manufacture up to 60m doses of this vaccine. We have ensured that we can deliver these volumes without impacting supply of our other vital medicines and vaccines, and without disruption to the other COVID-19 collaborations GSK is engaged in globally."
"This partnership with GSK continues the expansion of our global supply network, which we expect to increase overall production capacity and, if approved by regulatory agencies, support access to a potentially important new vaccine against COVID-19," said Rick Crowley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Novavax. "We thank the UK government's Vaccine Taskforce for its instrumental role in ensuring the progress of our COVID-19 vaccine, from both a clinical and now manufacturing perspective, as well as GSK for making their facilities available to help fight the pandemic."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I'm delighted by GSK's investment, which shows the strength of UK manufacturing, and will further boost our vaccine rollout. The Vaccines Taskforce has worked hand in glove with business to successfully deliver vaccines to the whole of the UK, and this agreement will continue to support our approach. We remain on track to offer a first jab to all over 50s by 15 April, and all adults by the end of July, and I want to once again encourage everyone to come forward for a vaccine when you're called."
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We've all seen just how important onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities are, and this fantastic deal will ensure more of these vital products can be produced here in the UK. The UK's vaccination programme has been a national success, with over 30 million people now having received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Should the Novavax vaccine meet our medicines regulator's high standards of safety and effectiveness, the agreement reached today will boost these efforts over the coming months."
The Novavax vaccine candidate has demonstrated strong potential efficacy in Phase 3 clinical trials, including against the B.1.1.7 variant circulating in the UK. Submission of the vaccine for review by regulatory authorities in the UK is expected during the second quarter.
GSK commitment to tackling COVID-19GSK's response to COVID-19 has been one of the broadest in the industry, with two potential treatments in addition to our vaccine candidates in development.
GSK is collaborating with several organisations around the world on COVID-19 vaccines by providing access to our adjuvant technology. Our collaboration with Canada's Medicago, combining our pandemic adjuvant with its plant-derived vaccine candidate is in Phase 3 clinical trials, and a collaboration with French company Sanofi on an adjuvanted, protein-based vaccine candidate is in Phase 2. An earlier stage collaboration with SK Bioscience of South Korea, with funding from CEPI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to develop differentiated, affordable COVID-19 vaccines for supply globally through the COVAX facility. The use of an adjuvant can be of particular importance in a pandemic since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and contributing to protecting more people.
GSK is working with German mRNA specialist, CureVac, to jointly develop next generation, multi-valent mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 with the potential to address multiple emerging variants in one vaccine. GSK will also support manufacturing of up to 100m doses of CureVac's first generation COVID-19 vaccine at our facilities in Belgium.
GSK is also exploring potential therapeutic or treatment options for COVID-19 patients. We are collaborating with Vir Biotechnology to develop existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be used as therapeutic or preventive options for COVID-19. We recently reported that an Independent Data Monitoring Committee recommended that the Phase 3 COMET-ICE trial evaluating VIR-7831 as monotherapy for the early treatment of COVID-19 in adults at high risk of hospitalisation be stopped for enrolment due to evidence of profound efficacy, based on an interim analysis of data from the trial. We are now seeking Emergency Use Authorization in the US and authorisations in other countries. We are also assessing whether an investigational monoclonal antibody, otilimab, can help severely ill COVID-19 patients aged over 70 who experience an overreaction of their immune system.
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