AstraZeneca in deal with Germany’s IDT Biologika to boost vaccine manufacturing capability

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© IDT Biologika facilities
© IDT Biologika facilities

Related tags Astrazeneca Germany COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

AstraZeneca and IDT Biologika are exploring options to accelerate output of finished COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in the second quarter of 2021 in order to help support Europe’s immediate vaccination needs during the pandemic.

The parties announced yesterday [February 10] that they plan to invest in capacity expansion at IDT Biologika’s production site in Dessau, Germany to build up to five 2,000-litre bioreactors capable of making tens of millions of doses per month of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

IDT Biologika said it would spend a three-digit million-euro amount on the capacity expansion, including the installation of those five 2,000-liter bioreactors, which is said would result in some of the largest manufacturing capacity of this type in Europe.

The new assets are expected to be operational by the end of 2022. The extent to which AstraZeneca will participate in the investment, and in what form, is subject to ongoing negotiations, said IDT Biologika.

Following the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, millions of doses began shipping on February 5 as part of the initial 17m doses that are due to be delivered over the next weeks, with more planned in March, said AstraZeneca.

The investment could also allow for the manufacture of other vaccines sharing a similar manufacturing process, greatly expanding Europe’s domestic vaccine production capability, said the partners.

Jürgen Betzing, CEO of IDT Biologika, said the agreement underscores its expertise in the production of demanding vector-based vaccines and its ability to provide a one-stop solution, from creating drug substance, through to fill and finish and secondary packaging.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca chief executive, said the manufacturing alliance would greatly help Europe build an independent vaccine manufacturing capability that will allow it to meet the challenges of the current pandemic and create strategic supply capacity for the future.

“I would like to thank the German Federal Government and the European Commission for their support in our efforts.”

IDT Biologika produces viral vaccines for pharmaceutical companies and the development of its own vaccine against COVID-19 hit a few roadblocks last month. Initial data for its vaccine, released mid-January, indicated good tolerability but a lower than expected immune response in individuals. The company said then the phase II study planned for the beginning of this year has been postponed pending clarification around that preliminary data.

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