Symbiosis announced that it had reached a deal with AstraZeneca to provide ‘fast-track’ access to sterile vaccine drug product manufacturing capacity.
The contract manufacturing organization (CMO) will become one of the small army of partners that AZ has amassed to build the capacity required to develop and commercialize a potential vaccine against COVID-19.
Early in June, AZ revealed that it had hit capacity to produce two billion doses of AZD1222 by 2021, through a number a partnerships with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, and the Serum Institute of India, among others.
Recently, AZ also reached an agreement with Catalent for the latter company to provide vial filling and packaging services once the vaccine candidate reaches commercialization.
The latest deal with Symbiosis will see the CMO provide sterile manufacturing of the vaccine for clinical trials, with Phase II/III trials ongoing at multiple site across the UK and readouts from these expected in August or September.
Colin MacKay, CEO of Symbiosis, said, “With many years of direct experience manufacturing medicines and vaccines of this nature for clinical trials and commercial markets, we are delighted to be able to leverage our expertise and competitive strengths to accelerate the development of this vaccine for AZ and to add value to the project.”
Earlier this year, the Sterling-based CMO had expanded its site to add additional manufacturing services and temperature-controlled storage.
The development was part-funded by the UK government, which was provided specifically to improve the supply of viral vectors.
The funding decision has paid dividends for the UK-based vaccine, which the national government has already moved to reserve priority supply on, with an order of 30 million doses.
Symbiosis has also benefited from the increased demand for viral vectors, nearly doubling its employee count since the beginning of the year, as it now counts 100 staff part of its team – up from 60 at the time of the expansion.