GSK to make chickenpox vaccine in Russia in deal with Nanolek

With vaccines continuing to produce double-digit growth, GlaxoSmithKline has been pouring money into production of the treatments. Its next step is an arrangement that will allow for local production in Russia. 

Russian drugmaker Nanolek recently disclosed that it and GSK have an agreement to produce GSK’s vaccines at Nanolek facilities. They will begin in 2021 with the vaccine for chickenpox, an illness that resulted in 830,000 reported cases in Russia last year. 

Nanoleck says that after chickenpox the two will begin teeing up vaccines for the Russian National Vaccination Calendar.

“Transfer of the deep stages of the production of chickenpox vaccine to the Nanolek site will be one of the key priorities of our partnership with GSK," Nanolek President Vladimir Khristenko said in a statement. “We are confident that, thanks to this partnership, the vaccine for the prevention of chickenpox and other GSK vaccines will become widely available in Russia.”

Nanolek's investment in the first phase is expected to be 6.5 billion rubles ($100.1 million), according to a GSK announcement translated from Russian. 

The deal comes as GSK continues to see good growth in vaccines, which tallied £1.6 billion ($1.9 million) in Q2, up 26%. That was driven by strong demand for Shingrix in the U.S. after the shingles vaccine won a U.S. CDC recommendation in 2018. 

Demand has grown so much that GSK has had supply issues. Earlier this year, the U.K. drugmaker said it would invest $100 million in vaccine production in Montana to more quickly overcome the shortages.