By Suzi Ring; March 29, 2021, 12:00 PM EDT Updated on
- U.K. company to handle fill-finish for up to 60 million doses
- Novavax plans to apply for U.K. approval of shot next quarter
GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to help manufacture as many as 60 million U.K. doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax Inc. as the government looks to shore up supplies amid tensions with the European Union.
The British pharmaceutical company will provide the fill-finish capacity — putting the vaccine into vials and packaging — for the Novavax shot at its Barnard Castle site in Durham, England, Glaxo said in a statement Monday. Novavax is expected to apply for U.K. approval of its vaccine in the second quarter, with production at the Glaxo plant starting as early as May.
The drug substance for the shot is also being produced in the northeast of England by Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies U.K. Ltd. The deal was put together by the U.K. government’s Vaccine Taskforce, which agreed to purchase 60 million doses from Novavax last year.
The agreement has the potential to reduce the U.K.’s reliance on overseas vaccine supplies amid a spat with the EU over exports. The bloc has fallen behind peers in vaccination rates, inoculating about 10% of its population, compared with 45% in the U.K. and about 28% in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker. EU leaders gave their guarded support to plans to restrict vaccine exports last week after it emerged the bloc had sent more shots to the rest of the world than to its own residents.