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Pharmaceuticals

Japan's AGC to expand vaccine agent production for Novavax

US biotechnology firm to produce billions of doses by end of 2021

AGC Biologics, based in the U.S. city of Seattle, will supply an ingredient for Novavax's coronavirus vaccine candidate. (Photo courtesy of AGC)

TOKYO -- Japanese materials manufacturer AGC will boost production by 50% of a crucial agent in a coronavirus vaccine candidate under development by U.S. firm Novavax.

Subsidiary AGC Biologics, based in the U.S. city of Seattle, agreed to supply enough of the adjuvant component for billions of doses in 2020 and 2021. Adjuvants are agents that induce the production of antibodies, improving the individual's immune response.

To meet the extra demand, AGC Biologics will manufacture the component in Seattle, along with its facilities in Denmark.

Novavax in early August announced positive first-phase results of clinical trials in terms of safety and response to its vaccine candidate. The trials will proceed to Phase 2 as soon as this month.

In Japan, top drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical will make and distribute Novavax's vaccine candidate. The adjuvant by AGC, the company formerly known as Asahi Glass, may go toward Takeda's production.

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