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GSK to manufacture 60 million doses of Novavax vaccine for the UK

29 Mar 2021

Pharma company will provide fill and finish manufacturing capacity at its Barnard Castle facility as early as the beginning of May 2021

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed in principle to support Novavax in the production of up to 60 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, for use in the UK by providing fill and finish manufacturing capacity at its Barnard Castle facility in England.

Fill and finish is the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing, which involves preparing vials of the final vaccine and packaging them for distribution and use. Operations could start as early as May 2021.

GSK is now preparing the Barnard Castle site in the north east of England, including a rapid technology transfer with Novavax. The site is a specialised facility that produces GSK pharmaceutical and vaccine products.

GSK said it intends to manufacture most, if not all, of the 60 million vaccine doses the UK Government has secured under an advance purchase agreement with Novavax.

"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," said Roger Connor, President, GSK vaccines.

The protein antigen component of NVX-CoV2373 is also produced in the north east of England by Novavax' manufacturing partner, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, at its site in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees.

The Novavax vaccine candidate has demonstrated strong potential efficacy in Phase III 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.

In a statement, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said GSK's investment showed the "strength of UK manufacturing" and would help with the nation's vaccine rollout, including the targets of offering a first jab to all over 50s by 15 April and all adults by the end of July.

GSK is collaborating with several organisations around the world on COVID-19 vaccines by providing access to its adjuvant technology. The use of an adjuvant can be of particular importance in a pandemic as it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and contributing to protecting more people.

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