Biotage triples lipid capacity to support mRNA vaccines

Demand for lipid nanoparticles for mRNA vaccines has driven Biotage to open a facility at its site in Cardiff, UK.  

The facility, of which financial details have not been disclosed, sees Swedish separations firm Biotage expand its manufacturing capacity of large-scale flash columns by 300 percent, specifically to support companies and contract manufacturers scaling-up lipid production for COVID-19 vaccines.  

“[Cardiff] is our largest site with capacity and competence for complicated and advanced column filling operations and [it is] geographically close to major customers,” Tomas Blomquist CEO of Biotage told BioProcess Insider.

Image: iStock/stanciuc

According to the firm, the shortage of raw materials for messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine manufacturing has caused a bottleneck effect as the lipids required for lipid nano particles (LNP) were not available at the scale needed to produce billions of doses of vaccines for global distribution.  

The recently opened facility will support Biotage’s aim of meeting the increased demand for mRNA production and will avoid disrupting any existing clients that are currently manufacturing APIs, natural products, fine chemicals, and other markets.  

To service the new facility, Blomquist said Biotage has added “additional staff to allow for even greater throughput of product.” However, a specific number of employees was not divulged.  

The firm claims that the newly operational facility showcases its ability to move quickly and scale-up to meet new demands in a rapidly increasing market in the pharmaceutical sector.  

Biotage said the commercial manufacturing of lipids at its Cardiff facility has been made possible with the firm’s systems, flash purification technology, and general expertise.