Novartis inks COVID-19 vaccine deal with CureVac

Novartis is the latest firm to partner with CureVac and plans to help make up to 250 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV by 2022.

 The Swiss firm is set to support manufacturing of CVnCoV, an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which is currently in Phase II studies and expected to merge into a Phase III efficacy trial.

The manufacturing is anticipated to start in Q2, 2021 at Novartis’ site in Kundl, Austria. The firm is aiming to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of 2021 and, following this, a further 200 million doses in 2022.

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“At the Kundl site, Novartis is a pioneer and has decades of experience in pharmaceutical production of proteins and in more recent years of nucleic acids. We are currently expanding our site with additional capacities for the production of mRNA in order to best serve the increasing demand,” said Steffen Lang, global head of Novartis Technical Operations at Novartis.

CVnCoV is an optimized, non-chemically modified mRNA, encoding the pre-fusion stabilized full-length spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and CureVac has already started preparations to allow for production to begin, such as test runs and technology transfers.

“I am very pleased that with Novartis we have found another highly experienced partner to support the production of our vaccine candidate,” said CureVac’s chief production office, Florian von der Mülbe. “Together with Novartis we expect to increase significantly our manufacturing capacity and place our production network on an even broader base.”

Manufacturing network

Novartis is the latest company to join CureVac’s manufacturing network which includes several companies.

This month, Bayer announced that as well as supporting CureVac with supply, key territory operations and development, it will also help to manufacture 160 million additional doses of the COVID vaccine in 2022 from its site in Wuppertal, Germany.

GSK is also part of CureVac’s manufacturing network and is set to manufacture up to 100 million doses of CVnCoV in 2021. The company has also entered an agreement to develop a candidate vaccine that aims to address new variants for pandemic and endemic use.

Fareva has also been contracted by CureVac to provide fill-finish capabilities from its two French facilities, one in Val-de-Reuil and the other in, Pau.

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