Emergent Biosolutions, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), has agreed to provide its services to Johnson & Johnson beginning in 2021, with the deal running for five years.
J&J will pay $480m (€425m) to secure large-scale drug substance manufacturing for the first two years, while the remaining three years will see Emergent provide flexible capacity.
According to Emergent, the newly announced deal ‘follows and is incremental’ to the two companies’ previously arrange deal in April, which saw the company complete the technology transfer and reserve its large-scale manufacturing capacity for commercial manufacture of the potential vaccine.
The prospect at the heart of the deal is Ad26.COV2-S, recombinant, which J&J chose as its lead vaccine candidate in March and is based on the same technology that saw the company successfully develop, and commercialize, a vaccine for Ebola.
The work on the COVID-19 vaccine candidate will take place at Emergent’s Baltimore, US, facility, with the CDMO possessing clinical scale facilities up to 4,000L commercial scale volumes.
Emergent stated that the site has the capacity to produce tens to hundreds of millions of doses on an annual basis – with J&J likely needing the scale to be in the higher range, as a number of companies working on COVID-19 vaccines aim for production of a billion doses annually.
Reports emerged at the end of last month that European Commission is already working with J&J to secure supply of any potential vaccine that would emerge from the two partners’ work.
J&J plans to take its lead vaccine candidate into Phase I/IIa by the second half of July.