Novavax sketches pandemic-fighting vax plant

Novavax has rapid-response vaccine making in its sites. The virus-like particle technology developer is working on plans for a facility to do the job. The goal: a finished vaccine within 12 weeks, and at least 50 million doses within six months, of an influenza pandemic declaration.

The ambitious plan stems from a contract awarded by HHS-BARDA earlier this month. The deal provides $97 million for Novavax to continue developing its recombinant VLP technology for use in government pandemic preparedness. The contract provides for an extension and an additional $82 million to then support manufacturing scale-up and FDA licensing.

The manufacturing facility plan will span design and construction through validation of a plant to produce seasonal and pandemic vaccines. The 50 million doses, though "a huge challenge," is "within the realm of reasonableness," CEO Rahul Singhvi told investors Monday. Novavax recently transitioned production to 1000-liter fermentation tanks and is improving downstream processing for better control of bioprocesses.

Singhvi says he anticipates "a lot of back and forth with BARDA on the eventual design and location" of the plant, according to In-Pharma Technologist.

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