Fujifilm has concluded a manufacturing contract agreement with biotechnology company VLP Therapeutics Japan for the latter’s Covid-19 vaccine formulation.

Fujifilm will use its manufacturing facilities and lipid nanoparticle infrastructure to manage activities associated with VLP’s Covid-19 vaccine formulations, including process development and production for clinical trials.

The product is a self-amplifying (replicon) RNA vaccine that uses a lipid nanoparticle formulation, a type of Drug Delivery System (DDS) technology.

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) funding selected the vaccine project.

In Japan, VLP will take forward pre-clinical and clinical trials of the vaccine.

VLP will work with the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition, Oita University and Osaka City University.

In March, Fujifilm entered a strategic partnership deal with Canada’s Precision NanoSystems (PNI).

Under the partnership, Fujifilm will leverage its 701 Factory with PNI’s NanoAssemblr technology and customer base for process development and contract manufacturing business.

In a separate development, NeuroRx and Swiss company Relief Therapeutics signed supply chain agreements and ordered enough drug substance of potential Covid-19 drug, RLF-100 (aviptadil), to treat one million patients.

Rlf-100 is currently in Phase II / III clinical trials for treating critical Covid-19 patients in the US, with study data expected this month.

Furthermore, European trials of the drug should begin in the first quarter of next year.

NeuroRx CEO and chairman Dr Jonathan Javitt said: “In normal circumstances, it would be prudent to wait until all the data are in before initiating commercial scale-up.

“However, in an environment where more than 40,000 Americans are contracting Covid-19 daily and 800 are dying each day, there is not a moment to lose in ensuring that sufficient quantities of RLF-100 will be available, should the clinical trials succeed in proving safety and efficacy.”

In June, the US Food and Drug Administration granted fast track designation to RLF-100 to treat acute lung injury / acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by Covid-19.