Novartis announced that it has signed an initial agreement to leverage its manufacturing capacity and capabilities in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the production of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The agreement will see Novartis utilizing its aseptic manufacturing facilities at its site in Stein, Switzerland.
Under the terms of the contract manufacturing agreement, Novartis plans to take bulk mRNA active ingredient from BioNTech and fill this into vials under aseptic conditions for shipment back to BioNTech for their distribution to healthcare system customers around the world.
Subject to reaching a final agreement, Novartis plans to commence production in the second quarter of 2021 at its state-of-the art aseptic manufacturing plant in Stein. Initial shipment of finished product is expected in the third quarter.
The Novartis manufacturing team is in advanced discussions with a number of additional companies to take on manufacturing activities such as mRNA production, therapeutic protein production as well as raw material production for Covid vaccines and therapeutics. The specifics will be disclosed once those discussions are concluded.
“Novartis has been mobilizing on multiple fronts to support the global pandemic response,” said Steffen Lang, Head of Novartis Technical Operations. “As a company reimagining medicine with advanced therapy platforms, we are committed to leverage our manufacturing capabilities to help support the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics around the world. We expect this to be the first of a number of such agreements.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been authorized for use by the health regulatory authorities of about 50 countries, including Switzerland and the European Union member states where it has been granted Conditional Marketing Authorization and it has received authorizations for emergency use in e.g. the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, as well as in Hong Kong.
Novartis response to COVID-19 pandemic
Novartis is making multiple contributions to the global effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and support the stability of global healthcare systems. The company has committed to donating USD 40 million to support communities around the world impacted by the pandemic. In addition, Novartis is active in several key cross-industry research initiatives, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard as well as a COVID-19 directed partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). Novartis has also announced a collaboration with Molecular Partners to develop two DARPin® therapies designed for potential use against COVID-19, and the company is separately supporting COVID-19-related clinical investigations of several Novartis medicines.
In our labs, we have started a collaborative, longer-term drug discovery effort to develop first oral medicines for COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. To sustain access, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division Sandoz became the first company to commit to keeping stable prices for a basket of essential medicines that may help in the treatment of COVID-19 and entered into a partnership with US-based Civica Rx to support stable supply of essential generic hospital medicines. We are making 15 drugs that treat key symptoms of COVID-19 available to low-and lower-middle income countries at zero profit until a vaccine or curative treatment is available. Furthermore, Novartis Gene Therapies entered into a manufacturing agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital to produce its novel genetic COVID-19 vaccine candidate called AAVCOVID8. More information about the Novartis response to COVID-19 is available at www.novartis.com/COVID-19