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AstraZeneca partners with IDT Biologika to build COVID-19 vaccine facility in Germany

Gareth Carpenter — 11 Feb 2021

Firms plan to invest in capacity expansion at the CDMO’s manufacturing site in Dessau to boost European domestic vaccine supply

AstraZeneca is to build a new COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility in Germany after announcing a strategic partnership with German CDMO IDT Biologika.

The move comes amid recent criticism of the slow roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in the European Union, which is currently lagging behind countries such as the UK, US and Israel.

The companies said they plan to invest in capacity expansion at IDT Biologika’s production site in Dessau to build up to five 2,000-litre bioreactors capable of making tens of millions of doses per month of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The new assets are estimated to be operational by the end of 2022.

While details of the agreement are still to be finalised, the partners said they also intend to strengthen Europe’s vaccine manufacturing capability with a joint investment to build future large additional drug substance capacity.

They said the investment could also allow for the manufacture of other vaccines sharing a similar manufacturing process, expanding Europe’s domestic vaccine production capability and playing a part in ensuring Europe’s future vaccine supply independence.

“The agreement underscores our expertise in the production of demanding vector-based vaccines and our ability to provide a one-stop solution, from creating drug substance, through to ‘fill and finish’ and secondary packaging,” said Jürgen Betzing, Chief Executive Officer, IDT Biologika.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca said the agreement would greatly help Europe build an independent vaccine manufacturing capability to meet the challenges of the current pandemic and create strategic supply capacity for the future.

On 29 January, AstraZeneca and University of Oxford’s vaccine was granted a conditional marketing authorisation in the EU. Doses of the vaccine began shipping on 5 February as part of the initial 17 million shots that are due to be delivered over the next weeks, with more planned in March.

AstraZeneca and IDT Biologika said they are exploring options to accelerate output of finished COVID-19 vaccines in the second quarter of 2021 in order to help support Europe’s immediate vaccination needs during the pandemic.

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