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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Emergent BioSolutions to bottle Providence Therapeutics new COVID-19 vaccine

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Emergent BioSolutions Inc. on Friday announced a new contract development and manufacturing company (CDMO) agreement with Canadian-based Providence Therapeutics, which is producing a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine similar to the Moderna Inc. and Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus shots already being administered across Canada and the United States.

The plan is for Emergent BioSolutions to provide fill/finish drug product manufacturing services at its facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Manitoba province said on Thursday that it has reached a preliminary agreement to buy the vaccine under development by Calgary-based biotechnology company Providence Therapeutics, which in January began putting its product through human clinical trials. 

For Emergent, the multinational specialty biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., the deal is its eighth COVID-19 CDMO collaboration, and its first outside of the U.S. in Canada. 

“We are proud to harness our industry-leading portfolio of CDMO services to support pharma & biotech innovators and governments/NGOs,” the company said in a LinkedIn post.

“With incredible agility and superior development and manufacturing standards based on our long-standing drug product manufacturing experience, we are proud to support Providence Therapeutics’ efforts as it aligns with our mission to protect and enhance life against the potential threat of COVID-19,” Syed Husain, Emergent’s senior vice president and CDMO business unit head, said.  

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said on Feb. 11 that the province plans to buy two million doses of the Providence Therapeutics COVID-19 vaccine on the condition it gets approved for use in Canada and is delivered by the end of the year. The mRNA vaccine is the first fully made-in-Canada COVID vaccine candidate to reach the Phase 1 human trials stage of development. The company plans to move into Phase 2 trials in May pending regulatory approval. 

“We welcome the initiative demonstrated by the Manitoba government as this means that we are now on course to manufacture and deliver a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada in 2021,” said Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson. “We are looking forward to engagement with other provinces and the federal government in the near future so that we can produce vaccines for more Canadians across the country.”

Emergent most recently announced a CDMO agreement in January to accelerate the drug product manufacturing of Humanigen Inc.’s lenzilumab, an anti-human granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) monoclonal antibody designed to prevent and treat an immune hyper-response called cytokine storm.

The agreement marked Emergent’s seventh CDMO collaboration with government and industry partners working to deliver COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic solutions.

“Drug product manufacturing is a hallmark capability of our CDMO services, and we stand ready to harness our expertise to advance lenzilumab, Humanigen’s COVID-19 therapeutic candidate,” Husain said last month in a statement. “Every second counts in the fight against COVID-19.”