VMIC to help Oxford Biomedica up capacity for AstraZeneca AZD1222 deal

Oxford Biomedica will make extra production suites at its Oxbox facility available to AstraZeneca to service an expanded coronavirus vaccine manufacturing agreement.

AstraZeneca originally hired UK-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Oxford Biomedica for the commercial production of the vector-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222 in May.

Last week, the Anglo-Swedish biopharmaceutical firm paid an additional £15 million ($20 million) upfront to reserve up to three more manufacturing suites for 18 months. The deal can be extended by mutual agreement.

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Oxford Biomedica will be operational earlier than planned to service the contract according to a spokesman, who told us the firm’s partnership with the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC) will be key.

“As part of the agreement with VMIC, they have provided manufacturing equipment for Oxford Biomedica to rapidly equip two new GMP manufacturing suites within Oxford Biomedica’s new 7,800 m2 commercial manufacturing center, Oxbox.”

He added, “We have also successfully recruited more staff in order to operate these suites,” before going on to say “we expect to be able to manufacture tens of millions of doses.”

Oxford Biomedica is also working with AstraZeneca on process development and scale up for AZD1222 according to the spokesman.

Oxford Biomedica teamed up with the VMIC – a non-profit intended to provide strategic development and advanced manufacturing capability – in June to increase UK vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Clinical development

AZD1222 – which was previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – entered Phase III clinical trials in August.

The trial is being carried out in the UK, Brazil and South Africa and the US. AstraZeneca also plans to begin studies in Japan and Russia.

These trials trial will enroll up to 50,000 participants globally. Results are anticipated later this year.

Oxford Biomedica is also working with AstraZeneca on process development and scale up for AZD1222 according to the spokesman.

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