Bavarian Nordic: Boosting inhouse manufacturing drives vaccine ambition

The takeover of a Swiss plant from contract manufacturer Emergent will bring Bavarian Nordic greater control of its vaccine production, the firm says.

In February, Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic inked a $270 million agreement to buy numerous vaccine assets and a manufacturing facility in Bern, Switzerland from contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Emergent Biosolutions. Yesterday, the deal closed.

Speaking on the firm’s Q1 results, CEO Paul Chaplin said the acquisition is key in helping Bavarian Nordic become “one of the largest pure-play vaccine company within the next few years.”

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He said a “key part of our strategy for a number of years now has been on maintaining our excellence in manufacturing and we want to further build on that platform.

“With the completion of the acquisition of emergent travel vaccines, this will bring us to become the largest travel vaccine company in the globe and brings many different assets.”

Through Emergent, Bavarian Nordic gains approved oral vaccines Vivotif and Vaxchora – for typhoid and cholera, respectively – and a late-stage Chikungunya candidate. The 16,000 m2 Bern plant, meanwhile, offers R&D capabilities as well as capacity for mammalian, microbial, viral drug substance, and drug product production.

“The R&D site will allow us to keep the momentum of the Chikungunya program and bring it across the line for launch within a couple of years,” Chaplin told stakeholder. “In terms of manufacturing, [Emergent is] obviously manufacturing the two commercial assets, gearing up to produce and launch the Chikungunya vaccine and gives us a huge amount of flexibility moving forward in terms of manufacturing options to bring in some of our products that we outsource back in-house.”

The acquisition falls into Bavarian Nordic’s long-term strategy and could be the forebearer of further M&A activity.

“Since 2020, we’ve been building up a commercial presence in some key markets and that has allowed us to look at opportunities to sell and distribute other people’s vaccines as we do for a number of different companies right now and we’re always looking to expand that footprint,” he said.

“We’re always on the lookout for strategic and selective M&As,” he continued. “We’re always looking for complementary assets that will allow us through our commercial excellence to bring more life-saving vaccines and improve and save people’s lives.”