Emergent buoyed by COVID-19 related CDMO business in Q1

Emergent Biosolutions says higher demand for CDMO services for COVID-19 related products helped it in the first quarter.

Emergent total saw revenues of $192.5 million in Q1, a slight increase over 2019. The firm said total revenues reflect a decline in product sales partially offset by an increase in CDMO and contracts and grants revenues.

The firm also maintained its full year guidance – revenues of $1.175 billion to $1.275 billion and net income in the $169 million to $210 million range – citing increased COVID-19 related work as an important factor.

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CEO Bob Kramer told analysts “Near-term pressures on travel health and NARCAN businesses are being offset by the increased demand for our development and manufacturing capabilities in the CDMO business unit.”

COVID-19 contracts

Emergent has projects ongoing with J&J, Novavax, and Vaxart to develop vaccines and therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

For Novavax, Emergent is providing both substance and product manufacturing services for a Phase I trial expected to start this month. The Vaxart project will see the CDMO provide substance development and production services for trials, which are due to start after June.

Emergent’s deal with J&J – which is worth $135 million – will see it provide drug substance manufacturing services and reserve large-scale production capacity from 2021 onwards.

The CDMO is also negotiating a commercial supply deal with J&J.

Syed Husain, head of Emergent’s CDMO business, said, “Our three COVID-19 collaborations show the depth and breadth of our customizable CDMO offering, built on our fundamental understanding of an innovator’s perspective.”

COVID-19 R&D

Emergent also shared details its own COVID-19 related development efforts.

The CDMO started work on two plasma-derived therapies – COVID-Human Immune Globulin (COVID- HIG) and COVID-Equine Immune Globulin (COVID-EIG) – both of which are being developed to treat people with severe COVID-19.

Laura Saward, head of Emergent’s therapeutics unit, said the firms manufacturing capabilities and partnerships with the US Government are key to both projects.

“We have been able to use the existing FLU-IGIV infrastructure to quickly initiate work on the COVID-HIG program.

Another key government partner for our program is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of the National Institute of Health.

“This partnership is important to expedite our COVID-HIG program, by joining their clinical trials and to accelerate the collection of convalescent plasma from their clinical network for the manufacture of the hyperimmune.”

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