“Having manufacturing capabilities is both a blessing and a noose around your neck,” says Bavarian Nordic as it considers CMO opportunities.
Bavarian Nordic has expanded its manufacturing footprint over the past few years, including expanding its bulk vaccine capabilities and adding a fill/finish facility in Kvistgaard, Denmark. The $75 million fill/finish plant is on track to be finalized by the end of the year, with production expected to begin in 2021.
The growth of its manufacturing network will support its own pipeline and help fulfill a smallpox vaccine contract with the US Government, which both encouraged and supported the building of the facility.
But in the Danish firm’s Q1 financial call, CEO Paul Chaplin hinted that the increased capacity the new facility will bring could be used to bring in revenue through contract manufacturing.
“Having manufacturing capabilities is both a blessing and a noose around your neck in some ways, in that it’s a blessing that we have the capabilities [but…] the infrastructure for manufacturing live vaccines is very costly,” he told stakeholders.
“Nonetheless, the best way of utilizing that expertise is to utilize the capacity the best you can. So, we are looking at opportunities both to do contract manufacturing, I would say, more strategically for certain partners, both from the bulk potentially, but also on the fill/finish.”
Shortage of filling capabilities
He added the firm is looking at the best ways to optimize facility costs by balancing production between Bavarian Nordic’s own products and the orders of potential strategic partners.
“There’s a lot of interest. I can tell you already. We haven’t even finished building the building. There’s already a lot of interest.”
This is, he said, because there is a shortage of filling capability both for liquid and freeze-dried filling of live viruses.
“If you look at most manufacturers of live virus, vaccines, they have difficulty in providing the market the stockouts. We’ve had a continuity of supply for the last 10 years, and we believe that’s a true asset for us and we want to harness that both through the expansion of our facility, but also in our current capability,” he said.