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Biotechnology

Fujifilm to make Novavax coronavirus vaccine component in UK

Production will fulfill order from British government for 60m doses

U.S. President Donald Trump tours Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies' Bioprocess Innovation Center in the state of North Carolina on July 27.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's Fujifilm Holdings said Monday that it has won an order to produce a key component of American biotechnology company Novavax's coronavirus vaccine candidate at a site in the U.K.

Fujifilm subsidiary Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will churn out the antigen component starting in early 2021. The output will fulfill an order by the British government for 60 million doses.

The site in the town of Billingham has enough capacity for 180 million doses a year. The scale opens the door to further supplies of the vaccine candidate outside the U.K.

Novavax seeks to develop next-generation vaccines using nanoparticle technology. The COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been awarded $1.6 billion in funding from the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed effort, as well as private-sector backing.

The vaccine candidate will undergo Phase 3 clinical trials this fall in the U.S. and Britain. Novavax has contracted Japan's AGC to manufacture adjuvant.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with a staff member while touring Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies' Bioprocess Innovation Center in the state of North Carolina on July 27.   © Reuters

Fujifilm Diosynth recently announced an agreement to produce bulk drug substance in the U.S. state of North Carolina for Novavax's vaccine candidate. It also agreed to provide production services at a Texas site for a modified-virus vaccine under development by American company Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding.

Fujifilm Diosynth was also awarded $265 million in funding from the U.S. government to reserve and expand capacity in Texas.

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