Bomb squad called to AstraZeneca vaccine plant; Lumen nabs CARB-X award for low-cost antidiarrheal
A plant located in Wrexham, Wales that is packing the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine into vials was surrounded by a bomb squad after officials called police to report a suspicious package.
The alert caused a partial evacuation of the plant, the BBC was among those to report Wednesday. The owner of the plant, British drugmaker Wockhardt UK, said it was cooperating with local authorities and that there were no reports of any injuries.
“Wockhardt UK in Wrexham this morning received a suspicious package to site,” the company said in a statement to BBC. “All relevant authorities were immediately notified and engaged. Upon expert advice we have partially evacuated the site pending a full investigation.”
The British government is also monitoring the situation.
An individual who works next door to the plant told BBC he heard a “big bang” around 11:35 a.m. local time. He went outside with two others to see what caused the noise but couldn’t determine where it had come from. The police then quickly closed off the road.
The Welsh plant has the capability to produce about 300 million doses of the vaccine per year. It’s the same plant that last week saw massive flooding nearby, though the worst of the storm appeared to spare the plant.
Lumen to earn up to $14.5 million from CARB-X for antidiarrheal
Lumen Bioscience and CARB-X are working on a new project together, one that could provide Lumen with some cash.
The pair are working to develop an oral monoclonal antibody cocktail to prevent serious diarrheal diseases caused by Campylobacter jejuni and enterotoxigenic E. coli. CARB-X is putting up an initial funding commitment of $5.2 million, and the project is eligible for an additional $8.26 million in milestones, subject to available funds at CARB-X.
Commonly referred to as traveler’s diarrhea, the diseases are a major cause of death and sickness in the developing world, particularly in infants and children. The intended product is a low-cost, edible antibody cocktail that can be easily shipped, stored, and used worldwide, including in regions that lack cold-chain distribution.
Lumen’s program has completed Phase I and should enter Phase II in early 2021, CEO Brian Finrow told Endpoints News in September. The program is also partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
CARB-X is a global non-profit partnership that works on accelerating early antibacterial R&D to combat drug-resistant bacteria. This deal brings the number of active projects in the CARB-X portfolio to 50.