Even after Emergent BioSolutions' manufacturing struggles earlier this year, the company has rebounded and landed another COVID-19 vaccine partner.
Emergent BioSolutions and Canada's Providence Therapeutics inked a five-year, $90 million deal for the contract drug manufacturer to support Providence’s development and manufacturing of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Next year, Emergent will manufacture “tens of millions” of doses of Providence’s PTX-COVID19-B and formulated bulk drug substance. Under the deal, the companies could scale up to produce hundreds of millions more doses for global distribution.
The bulk of the manufacturing work will take place at the CDMO’s facility in Winnipeg, Canada, with additional process and analytical development services taking place at Emergent's Gaithersburg, Maryland, location. Providence is based in Calgary, Canada.
“We are proud that Providence has chosen our Winnipeg team and site to manufacture its Canadian mRNA technology in Western Canada, one of the few facilities in the country manufacturing large quantities of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses today,” Adam R. Havey, Emergent EVP and COO, said in a statement.
Emergent, which has become one of the big-name manufacturers in the U.S. fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, earlier this this year unveiled plans to expand its vaccine facility in Winnipeg with aid from the Canadian government. In March, the facility was reported to employ about 350 and had the ability to handle the final manufacturing stages for mRNA, mammalian and microbial drugs that include mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.
Canada has been looking to ramp up domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines. Though it has approved Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the country along with Europe both faced supply squeezes earlier this year when Pfizer announced it would fall behind on deliveries due to an upgrade at its facility in Belgium. AstraZeneca also had supply issues that affected Canada and Europe as well.
For its part, Emergent has nabbed high-profile COVID-19 vaccine partnerships from the likes of Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca earlier in the pandemic. But the company faced scandal this spring because of manufacturing snafus at a site in Baltimore. Since then, it's been working to remediate those problems, and batches of J&J's vaccine have been making it out for distribution from the site in recent months.