Jubilant HollisterSteir, a subsidiary of Jubilant Pharmova, made the deal with the US government to provide greater capacity for critical vaccine manufacturing. The $149.6m (€140.5m) was issued as part of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9tn coronavirus rescue package designed to facilitate the US’ recovery from the pandemic.
For its part, Jubilant will provide $43.4m to contribute to the doubling of its injectable filling production capacity at its Spokane, Washington manufacturing facility.
According to the company, the work will provide greater capacity for parenteral products, as well as creating a flexible manufacturing platform to produce different types of vaccine. The site is able to produce live, mRNA, and inactivated/subunit vaccines.
Jubilant offers sterile manufacturing services from the Spokane site from clinical through to commercial liquid and lyophilized vials.
Currently, the two manufacturing complexes present at the site contain two commercial high-speed lines, with the filling process integrated from vial washing through to capping. The facility can also accommodate vials from 2ml through to 100ml, and batch sizes from 2L to 1,500L.
The investment into Jubilant’s manufacturing network will build out its presence in North America. The company already owns four manufacturing facilities in the region, whilst also having two further manufacturing facilities in India, and R&D centers in both locations.
The expansion is expected to be completed by 2025.
Spokane set for investment
This most recent planned expansion arrives after the company had previously announced, in November 2021, that it would build out the Spokane facility with an investment of $92m.
As part of that investment, 50,000-square-feet of space would be added to the facility, where Jubilant plans to house a high-speed filling line and lyophilizers, with sterile injectable capacity increased by 50%, as a result.
The work is expected to be complete by the end of 2024 and would add 250 new roles to the expansion.
During the announcement of both expansions, Jubilant explained that there had been need to enlarge capacity due to demand linked to the pandemic. While the investment aided by the US government was also made with an eye towards making the country “prepared and ready for future pandemics.”
Jubilant may need the extra capacity after its deal with Ocugen to provide manufacturing for its vaccine candidate, Covaxin (BBV152), which recently had a clinical hold lifted in the US. The delay could hurt its rollout efforts, with demand already met by Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
However, CEO of Ocugen, Shankar Musunuri believes that there is a desire for an “additional, differentiated vaccine option,” which could see those hesitant to take an mRNA-based vaccine seek an alternative option, such as Covaxin.