Under a new agreement, Novartis will manufacture the mRNA and bulk drug product for CureVac’s CVnCoV vaccine candidate for COVID-19, with a goal of up to 50 million doses by the end of 2021.
“I am very pleased that with Novartis, we have found another highly experienced partner to support the production of our vaccine candidate,” said Dr. Florian von der Mülbe, Chief Production Officer of CureVac. “Together with Novartis, we expect to increase significantly our manufacturing capacity and place our production network on an even broader base.”
This is just an initial agreement, but following finalization, Novartis intends to begin production in the second quarter of 2021. Manufacturing will be handled by its currently under construction high-tech production facility in Kundl, Austria. It could also step up manufacturing to a further 200 million doses next year.
“We feel it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help, and we are pleased to announce our collaboration with CureVac,” Steffen Lang, Global Head of Novartis Technical Operations and member of the Novartis Executive Committee, said. “At the Kundl site, Novartis is a pioneer and has decades of experience in pharmaceutical production of proteins and in more recent years of nucleic acids. We are currently expanding our site with additional capacities for the production of mRNA in order to best serve the increasing demand.”
Preparations for production, technology transfer, and tests are already underway.
Novartis will also provide manufacturing capacity to BioNTech for its joint vaccine with Pfizer and is participating in research initiatives such as the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator and a COVID-19 focused partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative. It also supports investigations of several of its own products for COVID-19-related trials while working with Molecular Partners to separately develop two DARPin therapies for potential use against COVID-19.