28 July 2020 

Emergent BioSolutions has entered into an agreement valued at approximately $174m to offer contract development and manufacturing services for large-scale commercial production of drug substance for AstraZeneca ’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222. This expands an $87m contract signed last month.

Pfizer and BioNTech have initiated a global, excluding China, Phase II/III clinical trial to assess safety and efficacy of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2. The companies’ first potential Covid-19 vaccine, BNT162b1, is already undergoing human trials.

The National Task Force for Covid-19 in India has denied inclusion of Biocon’s itolizumab in its clinical management protocols for the disease. Earlier this month, the drug received emergency use authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India to treat cytokine release syndrome in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome patients with Covid-19. Biocon intends to provide more real-world data for the committee to reconsider its decision on inclusion in clinical management guidelines.

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies has announced that its site in College Station, Texas, US will support manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine candidate as part of the Operation Warp Speed programme in the country. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) issued a task order that reserves production capacity at the College Station site through the end of 2021.