Covid-19 manufacturing roundup: Maryland looks to grow biotech capacity with $400M check; Russia lands second Sputnik V partner this week
A Maryland real estate project has added three new biotech-focused manufacturing and research buildings to an office park to keep up with demand created by the pandemic, the Washington Business Journal reported.
The Milestone Business Park — located off of I-270 in Germantown, MD — will see the new buildings and a total of 532,000 square feet as the campus rebrands to Milestone Innovation Park.
Montgomery County has seen a surge in demand for biotech space, as companies have worked to meet demand for tests, treatments and vaccines. The buildings will have biotech-minded features such as 33-foot-tall ceilings and spaced out columns, Washington Business Journal reported. The project is estimated to cost about $400 million.
Russia brings Egyptian firm to help keep up with vaccine demand
Russia has found another manufacturer for its Sputnik V vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that Egypt’s Minapharm agreed to produce 40 million doses a year of Sputnik V on Thursday.
Technology transfer is expected to begin immediately, the release said. The vaccine is expected to roll out in the third quarter of 2021.
Monday, the RDIF announced an agreement with Chinese drugmaker Hualan Biological Bacterin to make more than 100 million doses. Last week, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the country will enter negotiations with Russia for the use of Sputnik V once the EMA has given it authorization.
WHO manufacturing inspection of Sputnik facility to start in May
Experts from the WHO will team up with the EMA for another review of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Reuters reported, as the country is seeking emergency use authorization from the WHO.
The agency will inspect the Gamalaya Institute’s manufacturing facility for good manufacturing practices from May 10 until the first week of June, the WHO told Reuters. A team is currently inspecting good clinical practices.
Bharat ups manufacturing capacity ahead of PhIII results
The day before it announced Phase III results for Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, Bharat Biotech announced it has implemented capacity expansion across facilities in Hyderabad and Bangalore, India, to reach 700 million doses per year. The company says it’s one of the largest production capacities for inactivated viral vaccines in the world.
The expansion is feasible due to the availability of new BSL-3 facilities that have been repurposed, the release said. Bharat also partnered with Indian Immunologicals to manufacture the drug substance. The drug has received emergency use authorization in Mexico, the Philippines, Iran and Paraguay, among other countries.
It works by teaching the immune system to create antibodies that fight Covid-19. Antibodies attach to viral proteins, and a sample of the virus was used to create it. According to the Phase III trial results Bharat released Wednesday, Covaxin showed 78%.