CDMO deals and investments from AGC, Avid, and Fujifilm

New deals inked by AGC Biologics, Avid Bioservices, and Therapure, while Fujifilm breaks ground in Texas. Welcome to Friday’s CDMO round-up.

AGC Biologics has been contracted by Japan’s Ono Pharmaceutical for the manufacture of clinical materials.

Details are scant but the agreement marks the latest deal announced by the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) in recent months.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, AGC has been named as one of the manufacturers of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373; recently said it is partnering with Molecular Partners to develop a new class of protein therapeutics – known as DARPin – against COVID-19; agreed to make another COVID-19 vaccine for Switzerland’s Saiba; and will make the plasmid DNA intermediate for Takara Bio’s prophylaxis DNA vaccine candidate.

Concurrently with an influx of announced deals, AGC Bio has also been increasing its manufacturing capabilities and footprint, most recently acquiring Italian cell and gene therapy developer and manufacturer MolMed for €240 million ($284 million).

Avid and Oragenics

Next up, and Avid Bioservices has been selected by Florida-based Oragenics for process development and drug substance manufacturing of its SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) spike protein vaccine candidate, Terra CoV-2.

“Avid specializes in recombinant protein production, a critical component in the development and potential commercialization of our lead coronavirus vaccine candidate, Terra CoV-2,” said Alan Joslyn, CEO of Oragenics.

“With Avid’s existing manufacturing infrastructure, which includes three 2000 L single-use bioreactors and considerable space for expansion, they are the right manufacturing partner to scale-up to the significant levels of bulk vaccine substance that would be required to combat COVID-19, should our vaccine be approved by regulatory authorities.”

The work will take place at Avid’s Myford facility in Tustin, California. The site is likely to be expanded by the CDMO as demand for biomanufacturing services soar, but the company is yet to have pulled the trigger on what it says will be a $30-40 million investment.

Keen readers will have noted the CDMO was recently selected to make IOV-3001, Iovance Therapeutics’ candidate interleukin-2 receptor agonist intended for the treatment of cancer.

VBI Vaccines and Therapure Biomanufacturing

Another deal inked this week was VBI Vaccines selecting Therapure Biomanufacturing to make its coronavirus vaccine candidates from its site in Mississauga, Ontario.

“We are delighted to partner with VBI to assist with providing an effective response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through Therapure’s biomanufacturing and aseptic fill finish services for VBI’s innovative COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which utilize their flexible enveloped virus-like particle (eVLP) platform technology,” said Safa’a Al-Rais, Therapure’s CEO.

Fujifilm $55m in Texas

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies has broken ground on a $55 million expansion at its cell and gene therapy site in College Station, Texas.

The expansion is part of a $120 million investment in its capabilities announced last November, and follows the start of construction in March of a $35 million facility on the site set to offer cell culture and high throughput manufacturing.

The new 60,000 square-foot building will house dedicated process development and innovation laboratories to support advanced therapy projects and is set to be operational by fall 2021. This ‘Gene Therapy Innovation Center’ will house multiple 500 L and 2000 L bioreactor.

Along with the expansions in Texas, Fujifilm also recently committed to invest $928 million into its biologics site in Hillerød, Denmark , and pumped $14.5 million into a biocampus in the UK.

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