AstraZeneca has moved rapidly to scale the potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus that it is developing alongside the University of Oxford, with the latest step seeing it partner with Catalent.
The contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) has been brought on board to provide vial filling and packaging capacity.
The work will be carried out at Catalent’s 305,000-square-feet facility in Anagni, Italy, where the company will process vaccines for commercial supply of AZD1222.
In order to cope with the number of vaccines needed to be processed by the facility, Catalent is preparing for round-the-clock manufacturing schedules to manage the supply of hundreds of millions of doses from August 2020, onwards.
AZ’s vaccine heading towards commercialization
Earlier this month, AZ was able to confirm that it had secured the ability to produce two billion doses of the potential vaccine by 2021.
Last week, the company added to this after reaching an agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA) to supply up to 400 million doses to European nations participating in the initiative, which is led by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
The delivery of the vaccine will begin by the end of 2020, with each participating country in the IVA receiving equitable access.
Efficacy of vaccine
How effective the vaccine will be is not yet known; Oxford University began a Phase II/III UK trial in 10,000 adults last month, with further late-stage trials expected to begin soon, AZ stated.
During a recent interview, CEO of the company, Pascal Soriot, commented that the vaccine candidate is expected to provide protection to recipients for approximately a year.
Further results from clinical trials are expected in either August or September, which will reveal more details about the protection offered by AZD1222.