Wockhardt to provide “fill and finish” services for coronavirus vaccine

The UK’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities will be further boosted today thanks to a new deal to considerably increase capacity in a crucial part of the manufacturing process for Covid-19 vaccines, advancing efforts to ensure a successful vaccine is widely available to the public.

Wockhardt has partnered with the UK Government to work on a Covid-19 vaccine.

The agreement will aim to ensure people in the UK can receive a safe and effective vaccine as quickly as possible once one becomes available.

WalesOnline reports the company’s facility in Wrexham could start work on coronavirus vaccines as early as next month.

The government has entered into an eighteen month agreement with the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company to carry out the crucial fill and finish stage of the manufacturing process, which involves dispensing the manufactured vaccine substance into vials ready for it to be distributed.

This is an essential part of the vaccines supply chain and as part of this deal, Wockhardt will provide these services for the UK government and producers of vaccines being developed around the world in large quantities.

The fill and finish line is expected to start in September 2020. It will take place at CP Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Wockhardt, based in Wrexham, which has the capacity to finish millions of coronavirus vaccine doses.

Founder chairman of Wockhardt Dr Habil Khorakiwala said “We are proud to be collaborating with the UK Government to make vaccines available and the arrangement brings in a huge sense of purpose and pride, it upholds our ongoing commitment to fight against such a pandemic of global human importance. As a global organisation, we are focussed and committed to assist in mitigating the worldwide impact of COVID-19.”

Kate Bingham, Chair of the Vaccines Taskforce, said “Never before have we needed to find and manufacture a vaccine at this speed and scale in order to protect the UK population.

“We have made significant progress in securing a diverse portfolio of potential vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, adding a fourth vaccine candidate from GSK and Sanofi earlier this week. However, discovering a successful vaccine is only part of the solution, we also need to be able to manufacture it.

“Fill and finish is a critical step in the process to get the vaccine in a form to be given to patients. The agreement with Wockhardt will boost our capability to ensure that from the moment a successful vaccine is identified we will be able to produce the quantities of vaccine required, as quickly as possible, for the people who need it.”

The Wockhardt partnership complements the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire as a result of £93m government investment.

The UK’s vaccine manufacturing efforts are further supported by an additional £100m for a state of the art Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree, Essex, to accelerate the mass production of a successful Covid-19 vaccine in the UK.

While the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre is under construction, the government has invested an additional £38m to establish a rapid deployment facility opening later this summer.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said “This agreement demonstrates the importance of Welsh manufacturers in the UK’s fight against coronavirus, highlighting once again the strengths of working together across the UK to combat the pandemic.

“Securing this manufacturing capacity means that safe and effective vaccines, produced in Wales, will potentially be distributed rapidly to people across the UK.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said “Ensuring the UK has the capability to research, develop and manufacture a safe and effective vaccine is critical in our fight against coronavirus.

“Today we have secured additional capacity to manufacture millions of doses of multiple Covid-19 candidates, guaranteeing the supply of vaccines we need to protect people across the UK rapidly and in large numbers.”

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