Novaratis has signed an initial agreement to manufacture biopharmaceutical company CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV.
Following final agreement, Novartis plans to start manufacturing of the mRNA and bulk drug product in the second quarter of 2021. It is anticipated to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of 2021 and a further 200 million in 2022 at its manufacturing site in Austria.
Preparations for the start of production, technology transfers and test runs are underway, and delivery from the Austria site is expected to start in summer 2021.
Dr. Florian von der Mülbe, Chief Production Officer of CureVac, said: “I am very pleased that with Novartis we have found another highly experienced partner to support the production of our vaccine candidate. Together with Novartis we expect to increase significantly our manufacturing capacity and place our production network on an even broader base.”
Steffen Lang, Global Head of Novartis Technical Operations and member of Executive Committee Novartis, added: “We feel it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help and we are pleased to announce our collaboration with CureVac. At the Kundl site, Novartis is a pioneer and has decades of experience in pharmaceutical production of proteins and in more recent years of nucleic acids. We are currently expanding our site with additional capacities for the production of mRNA in order to best serve the increasing demand.”
CureVac began development of its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates in January 2020. The vaccine candidate chosen first for clinical development, CVnCoV, is an optimised, non-chemically modified mRNA, encoding the prefusion stabilized full-length spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and formulated within Lipid Nanoparticles (LNPs). CureVac has entered into several strategic partnerships for the further development, production and commercialization of CVnCoV.