As part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has enlisted the support of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies for the production of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The agreement will see Fujifilm Diosynth’s College Station, Texas, site contracted to provide manufacturing capacity through the end of 2021.
The contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) will utilize capacity at its Flexible Biomanufacturing Facility (FBF).
Earlier this year, the company announced that this site would be expanded with $35m (€31m) earmarked for the upgrade.
As part of BARDA’s commitment, the US government will aid Fujifilm Diosynth carry out and accelerate the expansion ‘by several months’, the company stated.
A spokesperson for Fujifilm Diosynth told BioPharma-Reporter: "As part of the original timeline one production suite was planned to be on line with a 4 x500L bioreactors in the fall and the remaining two suites mid next year, whereas now we will have three production lines online in the fall with two of those suites containing 4 x2,000L bioreactors and a third suite operating a single 2K bioreactor or 2x500L bioreactors."
The work is now expected to complete in fall 2020 – though this remains unchanged from when the expansion was previously announced.
Only the week prior to the BARDA deal, Novavax confirmed that it would employ the services of Fujifilm Diosynth for the manufacture of bulk drug substance for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Fujifilm Diosynth has already begun producing batches for Novavax from its North Carolina facility; however, the company updated this situation to confirm that technology transfer would see the Texas site takeover the work in late 2020.
As a result of this switch, mass production of the vaccine candidate would begin at the FBF in early 2021.