Catalent pledges to increase production of Moderna vaccine at its Indiana fill-finish plant
One of the big contract partners in the Covid-19 effort, Catalent has signed deals with most of the major vaccine players to help ramp up supply. Now, the New Jersey firm will expand its deal with Moderna in hopes of churning out double the amount of finished vials in time for summer.
The CDMO will increase its production capacity of the vaccine in its Bloomington, IN biologics facility through its new high-speed vial filling line, Catalent announced Tuesday. Sources close to the matter told The Wall Street Journal that agreement will increase the vaccine output in April to 400 vials a minute.
New doses will be ready for shipment in May, and the plant’s upgrades will allow for an additional 80 million vials a year, the WSJ reported. This will help with President Joe Biden’s push to provide enough shots to vaccinate every American adult by late May, and comes at a crucial time as talks of expanding vaccine availability to children have taken shape in recent weeks.
The expanded deal follows a March 17 announcement that Catalent would significantly increase its manufacturing capacity for commercial supply of the J&J vaccine in Anagni, Italy, through late 2022.
Moderna will now have a dedicated filling line at Catalent’s Indiana facility through 2023, where, for now, it will manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine. On March 29, Moderna announced that it had produced its 100 millionth dose of that vaccine.
Catalent announced in September that it would spend $50 million to expand the Bloomington facility. The project, which the company said normally takes around 18 months to complete, was finished in 10.
“We appreciate this expanded collaboration with Catalent and the dedication of their team,” Moderna CTO Juan Andres said in a statement. “This additional fill-finish capacity will be important for not only our COVID-19 vaccine, but also potentially for other programs in our clinical development pipeline.”
Catalent’s facility in Italy made headlines at the end of March, when Italian police officers raided its Anagni plant amidst complaints that AstraZeneca was stockpiling doses of its vaccine. That vaccine was made outside of the EU and brought to Angani to be filled into vials, a statement from AstraZeneca said, and it was “incorrect to describe this as a stockpile.”