Lonza will commission a dedicated suite at its Houston, US facility for supply of Altimmune’s AdCOVID, a nasal COVID-19 vaccine that entered Phase I trials last month.
Last November, Altimmune entered an agreement which meant that Lonza would provide commercial production capacity for AdCOVID from its Houston, US, site.
Now, Altimmune has expanded its manufacturing partnership with lonza by adding capacity and stability through its own dedicated suite.
“Our recently inaugurated Houston facility is our center of excellence for process development and viral vector cGMP manufacturing,” a spokeswoman from Lonza told BioProcess Insider. “Altimmune came to us because we can accommodate their accelerated timelines, provide them with the flexibility of a dedicated suite, and have room for further expansion should they need more capacity.”
According to Lonza, the firm is ready to scale-up production when needed in response to COVID-19 as it prepares to expand its staff and capabilities to service the deal.
While its “technologies, infrastructure and years of experience in adenovirus cGMP manufacturing enable us to fully service this deal and to scale-up Altimmune’s current manufacturing process,” Lonza told us the deal expansion does affect staff and equipment.
“We were already in a significant growth trend prior to signing this agreement and will expand our recruitment activities further with this new commitment.”
She continued: “we are building out an existing area of the Pearland facility, meaning that we will be using the existing infrastructure. However, some equipment, including 2,000 L single-use bioreactors will be new and dedicated to Altimmune.”
Unlike other COVID-19 vaccines that are administered via injection, AdCOVID is delivered to the patient intranasally. In its preclinical study, the candidate is said to have activated systemic immunity by T cell responses, neutralizing antibodies, and mucosal immunity in the respiratory track which can potentially prevent SARS-Cov-2 transmission and infection.
“Altimmune’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be a complete game-changer in the fight against COVID-19. Our reinforced commitment is to enable the team at Altimmune to scale-up production as needed and deliver vaccines at a global scale when ready,” said Alberto Santagostino, senior vice president, head of Cell and Gene Technologies at Lonza in a previous statement.