Novavax adds inhouse capacity to bolster COVID-19 and flu vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine developer Novavax has secured two facilities in Maryland to support ongoing trials and scaled-up production.

The first facility is a 122,000 square-foot plant in Gaithersburg, Maryland secured through a 15-year lease that will be built out and used for manufacturing, R&D, and offices from early 2021. It is located within a mile of Novavax’s headquarters. The second, also in Gaithersburg, is an 9.7-acre parcel of land acquired by Novavax for future development.

The two sites will support Novavax’s recombinant protein-based vaccines for COVID-19 and influzenza, currently in Phase III trials.

Image: iStock/klenger

“The expansion of our physical footprint reflects Novavax’ significant growth as we work to both rapidly deliver a COVID-19 vaccine and progress NanoFlu, our influenza vaccine candidate, for regulatory submission and potential commercialization,” said Stanley Erck, CEO of Novavax.

The additional two Maryland facilities comes 16 months after the firm struck a deal with Catalent to sell the leases of facilities in Rockville and Gaithersburg.

“The sale to Catalent was needed at the time in the best interest of the company and all stakeholders – it was pre-COVID-19,” a Novavax spokesperson told this publication.

Capacity building

Novavax has been rapidly building up its manufacturing capacity over the past months in anticipation of an approval of its COVID-19 vaccine and the need to supply potentially hundred of millions of doses.

The firm acquired Praha Vaccines for approximately $167 million in May, gaining a facility expected to provide an annual capacity of over 1 billion doses of antigen starting in 2021. While this site is in in Czech Republic, Novavax has said it is intended to serve the global production of the vaccine.

Furthermore, the firm has received $1.6 billion of funding from Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s response to the expedite vaccines and therapeutics against the novel coronavirus – much of which will be used to help secure more manufacturing capacity.

And the company has also inked substantial contracts with contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) including the Polypeptide Group, AGC Biologics, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Par Sterile Products, and India’s Serum Institute.