Lilly hires Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies to make COVID-19 mAbs

Eli Lilly has added Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies to the list of firms manufacturing its candidate COVID-19 antibody therapies.

The contract – which is part of Lilly’s agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – will see Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies make commercial supplies of the product at its facility in Hillerod, Denmark. Production is expected to start in April next year.

The facility – which was acquired from Biogen last year – houses six 20,000 L bioreactors for the production of cell culture derived biopharmaceuticals.

Image: iStock/Dr_Microbe

Lilly said it has already started the manufacturing technology transfer in anticipation of regulatory authorization for its antibody therapy.

The CDMO recently announced plans to double capacity at the facility in an investment that will also add fill-finish capabilities.

Accelerator

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) said it will use manufacturing capacity reserved in May under the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

The program is a Gates Foundation initiative designed to speed up development and production of pandemic countermeasures.

At the time CEO Martin Meeson told us “Under the agreement, significant production volumes are secured in FDB Denmark site for 2021 with options for a number of years thereafter.”

“We look forward to continuing to serve our existing customers while also reserving the necessary capacity to meet the needs of COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” Meeson said.

Antibody therapies

Lilly has several antibody candidates against the COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, in development.

The two most advanced are LY-CoV555 being developed through a collaboration with AbCellera and LY-CoV016 licensed from Junshi Biosciences in May.

Last month Lilly said it had asked Amgen to help it manufacture antibodies from its COVID-19 program.

At the time Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer said, “Increasing the manufacturing capacity for our neutralizing antibodies through this collaboration with Amgen is a crucial next step, and together we hope to be able to produce many millions of doses even next year.”

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