Vaccine developers are selecting contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) close to home for their COVID-19 vaccine, as the US, UK and Germany are the most popular supplier locations, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Johanna Swanson, MBA, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “These supply chains contrast with the general trend within the pharma industry to outsource production to China and India, especially for low-cost, high-volume orders and generics. Vaccine developers are selecting manufacturers that are closer to their homes, which could be due to storage or manufacturing availability.”
The vaccine candidate with the most manufacturing agreements is AstraZeneca’s AZD-1222, a recombinant vector vaccine in Phase III development. The drug has manufacturing agreements with 10 service providers, which includes the major players Catalent (Somerset, NJ, US), Emergent BioSolutions (Gaithersburg, MD, US) and Novasep (Lyon, France), as well as pharma company Merck KGaA (Darmstad, Germany), which is performing excess capacity manufacturing.
Scancell has entered into an API manufacturing agreement with Cobra Biologics (UK) for COVID-19 vaccine Candidate. Under this agreement, Cobra Biologics will provide GMP production of plasmid DNA to Scancell for COVID-19 DNA vaccine Candidate for use in Phase 1 clinical trial in 2021.
Swanson continues: “The CMOs benefiting most from COVID-19 vaccine development so far are Emergent BioSolutions and Catalent, which each have four manufacturing deals, including with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, but the real winners will emerge when the major markets grant regulatory approval.
“Large pharma companies are also investing in captive capacity. Pfizer plans to manufacture millions of doses of BNT162, the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with BioNTech by the end of 2020, and hundreds of millions of doses in 2021. The vaccine will be made at Pfizer’s sites in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Michigan. Pfizer is pushing many of its internally manufactured drugs out to CMOs to free up space, and subsuming the risk of possible issues with the rapid scale up.”