IDT Biologika latest to join AstraZeneca in COVID-19 response

CDMO IDT Biologika will expand its site in Dessau, Germany through a joint investment with AstraZeneca to support the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca has signed a letter of intent with contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) IDT Biologika to help produce its COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222.

Details of the agreement are yet to be finalized, but production of the vaccine is expected to begin at IDT Biologika’s site in Dessau, Germany from the second quarter 2021.

Image/iStock: Ridofranz

However, both companies plan to invest in a capacity expansion at the facility by adding up to five 2,000 L bioreactors, which will have the ability to make millions more doses per month of the vaccine and secure drug substance capacity for the future. This is expected to be online by the end of 2022, to support AZD1222 and other vaccines, and according to the firms it will result in IDT Biologika having among the largest vaccine manufacturing capacity in Europe.

“This agreement will greatly help Europe build an independent vaccine manufacturing capability that will allow it to meet the challenges of the current pandemic and create strategic supply capacity for the future,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca.

Global vaccine efforts

IDT Biologika is the latest manufacturer to join AZD1222 global vaccine efforts. Others include: Serum, CSL and Oxford Biomedica.

AstraZeneca has partnered with Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, to supply AZD1222 to the Indian Government. This month, AstraZeneca and SII said it will work with the COVAX Facility to produce more than 300 million doses of the vaccine which will be made available to 145 countries by the first half of 2021.

Last September, UK-based company, Oxford Biomedica signed a supply agreement with AstraZeneca to increase manufacturing support of AZD1222.

Oxford Biomedica reserved capacity for AstraZeneca in up to three manufacturing suites at its manufacturing facility, Oxbox, with the potential to extend the supply period by a further 18 months.

In November 2020, Australian firm CSL confirmed it would begin to manufacture AZD1222 at its facility in Broadmeadows, Victoria, aiming to produce approximately 30million doses of the vaccine.

Last week,  the firm said the final manufacturing phase will commence at its Seqirus facility in Parkville, Victoria. Seqirus fill-finish will run 24 hours a day and operate 7 days a week and the firm expect to release two million doses at the end of March and thereafter, one million doses per week.