Coronavirus company news summary – DoJ allows drugmakers to share manufacturing capacity for antibody drugs – Dynavax and Medigen team up on a Covid-19 vaccine

24 July 2020 (Last Updated July 24th, 2020 09:01)

24 July 2020 

The UK Government has announced an investment of £100m ($127m) to scale up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine and gene therapy in the country. The investment will support the new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in expediting the mass production of a successful Covid-19 vaccine. Scheduled to open in December next year, the Centre will have the capacity to manufacture millions of doses per month.

US-based Arcturus Therapeutics has signed a deal with the Israeli Ministry of Health to supply its potential Covid-19 vaccine, LUNAR-COV19. A comprehensive supply agreement is set to be finalised within a month. Delivery of LUNAR-COV19 doses to Israel is subject to reaching near term clinical and regulatory milestones and other conditions.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has said that it will not challenge efforts by drugmakers, including Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Amgen, to share information to help scale up the manufacturing of monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid-19. In a letter to the companies, the DoJ noted that the demand for monoclonal antibodies against Covid-19 is likely to exceed what one firm could produce on its own. The companies have agreed not to exchange information on the prices of these treatments.

Dynavax Technologies and Medigen Vaccine Biologics have partnered to develop a Covid-19 vaccine candidate with an adjuvant. The partners will leverage Medigen’s stable pre-fusion form of the SARS-CoV2 recombinant spike protein along with Dynavax’s CpG 1018 adjuvant. In preclinical studies, this  vaccine candidate produced strong immune responses.

Novavax and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) have signed an agreement for large-scale manufacturing of bulk drug substance for the former’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. FDB’s facility in Morrisville, North Carolina, US has already started producing the first batch of the vaccine candidate.