WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s Mabion aims to start production of U.S. firm Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine for Europe from the third quarter, representatives of the biotechnology company said.
Mabion and Novavax last month signed a framework deal on the transfer of COVID-19 vaccine technology to Mabion’s plant in central Poland, which was designed to produce a rare diseases drug yet to be registered.
“The production of our core product is much more complicated (than vaccine),” Mabion board member Adam Pietruszkiewicz told Reuters.
Mabion is adding equipment necessary to start Novavax vaccine production, not without problems, as access to such machines has been limited. It is taking advantage of Novavax’s strong negotiation position with equipment suppliers.
“We still have to buy some equipment intended solely for the production of vaccines. However, our main machine park is ready. After completing this process, we should enter the commercial production phase at the beginning of the second half of the year,” Pietruszkiewicz said.
Mabion would produce the active substance of the COVID-19 vaccine in the form of a recombinant virus protein. The active ingredient will be sent in 10 litre bags to a company in Germany, where the fill and finish will take place.
“Typically, companies that specialise in the production of recombinant proteins very rarely have bottling lines with significant capacity. As a rule, these are specialised companies that have the infrastructure to fill vials in large quantities in a short time,” Mabion management board member Slawomir Jaros said.
“The product will be distributed in Europe,” Mabion representatives added.
Mabion, which will be one of three Novavax’s vaccine producers in the European Union, has not revealed the size of the production, but said its 2,500 litre bioreactor is one of the largest in Europe.
Mabion and Novavax have not yet signed a final commercial agreement, but initial financial conditions have been agreed, the Polish company said.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Anna Koper; editing by Jason Neely)