J&J partners with Aspen manufacture COVID-19 vaccine

J&J partners with Aspen manufacture COVID-19 vaccine

The South-Africa based drug firm Aspen Pharmacare has signed a preliminary agreement with two Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiaries for the technical transfer and proposed commercial manufacture of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2-S.

At present, the investigational vaccine is undergoing clinical trials. Under the terms of the new pact signed with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceutica, Aspen Pharmacare will be responsible for the formulation, filling and secondary packaging of the vaccine for supply to J&J.

Manufacturing of Ad26.COV2-S will take place in Aspen Pharmacare’s existing sterile facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, developed with an investment of over $1.85bn.

Aspen Group chief executive Stephen Saad said: “We have been selected as a vaccine partner by Johnson & Johnson and this project will receive priority focus.”

The facility is complete with high technology equipment and systems for making sterile drugs and vaccines, packaged into vials, ampoules and pre-filled syringe, said the company. Aspen will also provide the necessary capacity required for the production.

Aspen is a global supplier for antiretrovirals for the treatment of HIV / AIDS, multi-drug-resistant-TB products and COVID-19-related treatments such as anaesthetics and dexamethasone.

In August, J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceutical signed an agreement with the US government for the large scale domestic production and supply of 100 million doses of Ad26.COV2.S.