GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has reached an agreement in principle with Novavax and the UK Government Vaccines Taskforce 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.
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.
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.”
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.