Global Markets

COVID-19 to shape mRNA vaccine and therapeutic sector for years to come

COVID-19 established mRNA vaccines as an effective therapeutic option and – says a technology expert – has set the blueprint for how they will be made for the foreseeable future. Developers were working on mRNA-based medicines before 2020 with Alnylam’s polyneuropathy treatment Onpattro (patisiran) being one of the first such therapies to win approval. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a period of rapid growth for the market – particularly mRNA vaccines – that shows little signs of slowing according to…

Switzerland flexing its CGT muscle with a little help from Novartis and Roche

Heavy investment in R&D and manufacturing capabilities is driving the Swiss advanced therapy space but challenges including the skill-deficit still exist, says consultancy firm Coulter Partners. As interest in cell and gene therapies (CGTs) grow, certain hubs are arising globally. Philadelphia’s ‘Cellicon Valley’ and Texas both come to mind, but across the pond Switzerland has been subject to numerous investments and the sector is blossoming. “Switzerland remains a highly attractive location for biopharma in general, due to the fiscal situation,…

CureVac reallocating failed COVID vax capacity to support next-gen mRNA

Having abandoned its COVID-19 candidate CVnCoV, CureVac has switched up its manufacturing network in preparation for a second-generation messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. For the third quarter 2021, German biotech CureVac reported a loss of €143.5 million ($162 million) – a €106.4 million increase compared to the same period in 2020. According to the firm, the increase was in line with high development costs of CVnCoV, the firm’s first-generation mRNA vaccine targeting COVID-19. This was propped up due to a change…

Amneal to leverage Indian network to enter biomanufacturing space

With a robust biosimilars pipeline and an increasingly large footprint, Amneal is preparing to invest in biologics manufacturing capabilities. Amneal Pharmaceuticals has developed and commercialized numerous small molecule drugs and generics but according to the Indian press the firm is on the verge of entering the biomanufacturing space with a greenfield biologics plant in Ahmedabad on the cards. The interest in biologics was confirmed by Amneal spokesman Anthony Di Meo, but he said plans have not been finalized. “In terms…

COVID drove innovation in consumables sourcing and inventory management

COVID-19 has changed how drugs and vaccines are made according to experts who say limited raw material supplies and manufacturing capacity have forced industry to innovate in sourcing and inventory management. The pandemic has disrupted the global supply of consumables and technologies according to Josh Speidel from Latham BioPharm Group, who said on BioProcess Insider’s recent State of the Industry webinar that delivery timelines have increased significantly. “The pandemic has put immense pressure on the global manufacturing capacity” adding that…

CBM: SK investment to fund next growth phase for ambitious CDMO

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) has taken an undisclosed amount from Korean investment firm SK Inc in its latest push to become the world’s largest cell and gene CDMO. In early 2020, life science and real estate investment company MLP Ventures and the Discovery Labs set-up CBM through a 680,000 square-foot facility at a former GSK R&D campus in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. At the time, Brian O’Neill, founder of the Discovery Labs, said through $1.2 billion of funding…

COVID hit cell and gene therapy trials and suppliers but experts see signs of recovery

COVID-19 disrupted cell and gene therapy trials as well as the contractors and suppliers that support them, according to experts. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, impacted all parts of biopharma. For example, the focus on vaccines highlighted manufacturing capacity limitations while increased demand for consumables and raw materials put pressure on suppliers. The pandemic also disrupted R&D to the extent that some developers put projects on hold according to Amelie Boulais, head of market entry strategy at Sartorius, who…

CPhI 2021: Back to business (almost) for Pharma trade shows

Milan, Italy is the place to be this week as over 20,000 pharma delegates shake off the past 20 months and attend CPhI Worldwide 2021. BioProcess Insider donned a facemask and presented its ‘Green Pass’ to attend the world’s largest pharma show, CPhI Worldwide in Milan. Naturally numbers were down on 2019’s event in Frankfurt, Germany but with over 1,300 exhibitors and more than 20,000 attendees it is fair to say that the appetite for face-to-face events among the life…

Aragen focuses on securing biologics capacity within ‘competitive’ CDMO space

Longer-term funding in biotech has led to deeper partnerships with CDMOs says Aragen Bioscience, which is looking to establish its own biomanufacturing capabilities in the US. Through investment from parent firm GVK Bio, contract research organization (CRO) Aragen has grown its business to include two sites in San Francisco offering efficacy studies, protein analytics, and cell line development services. But for several years, the company has looked to enter the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) space, firstly by adding master…

Emergent taking $180m hit as US Gov scraps CDMO contract

The US Department of Health and Human Services has terminated a long-term CDMO partnership with Emergent BioSolutions, which included a $628 million deal to produce COVID-19 vaccines. In 2012, Emergent BioSolutions entered into a public-private partnership for pandemic preparedness with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). When COVID-19 hit, the partnership was expanded with Emergent receiving $628 million as part of the federal government’s pandemic response Operation…