Fujifilm (TSE:4901) is spending big to double the size of its United Kingdom-based vaccine manufacturing facility.
According to a news release, Fujifilm is spending about $532.8 million (£400 million) to expand its Teesside (north-east England) plant making the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. The expansion includes facilities specializing in antibody treatments and viral gene therapies.
Fujifilm said the facilities are set to open in 2023 or early 2024, with up to 350 highly skilled jobs created in contract manufacturing.
“We all know that there has never been a more important time to invest in biopharmaceuticals — and £400 million, the largest investment in British biopharmaceutical manufacturing for decades, signals Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ intent to be able to offer multi-modal options to respond to our customers’ needs with flexibility and agility to help solve public health demands, and deliver the medicines and vaccines of tomorrow,” Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies CEO Martin Meeson said in the release.
“With a strong growing demand for microbial, cell culture and viral gene therapy services, we are adding the capacity and latest technologies within one campus to offer a range of modalities to build an offering that will deliver novel promising treatments to patients for years to come.”
Fujifilm manufactures the active ingredient for the vaccines developed by Novavax. Novavax’s vaccine was recently submitted to regulators, but has not received approval in the U.K.. At the same time, the company said months ago that it intended to file for FDA emergency use authorization in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company has said that it intends to manufacture 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter, with that sum increasing to 150 million by the end of 2021.
The New York Times reported over the summer that Novavax struggled to convince the FDA that it can manufacture its vaccine candidate according to FDA standards. As a result, the company has partnered with vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India. The two have jointly filed for emergency use authorization for its vaccine in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Gaithersburg, Md.–based Novavax’s recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 100% protection against moderate and severe disease, with 90.4% efficacy overall as it met the primary endpoint in the Prevent-19 pivotal Phase 3 trial, as reported in June. The European Commission agreed to purchase up to 200 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine in August.