(Reuters) – Germany’s IDT Biologica said on Monday it would manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine using capacity previously reserved by Japan’s Takeda, which will help ease concerns about the U.S. drugmaker’s ability to meet its requirements. production targets.
IDT said it will fill and pack the COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved by the European Union’s drug regulator last week, for a period of three months, after which it will resume production of the dengue vaccine from the Japanese pharmaceutical Takeda.
“I am grateful to our long-time customer Takeda for their flexibility, allowing us to provide the world with much-needed COVID-19 vaccines,” said IDT Biologika CEO Juergen Betzing.
The J&J vaccine, licensed in the United States on February 27, is the first single-dose coronavirus vaccine along with the two-shot vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna Inc.
The drugmaker has been working to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity and previously turned to contract manufacturers like Catalent and Emergent to increase production and meet global supply targets.
J&J chief scientist Paul Stoffels told Reuters on Thursday that the drugmaker is deploying three manufacturing plants globally to produce the active ingredient in the vaccine and will also have seven plants to fill and finish.
It was unclear if the RTD plant, which will fill and bottle vials for worldwide distribution, was part of the seven or an additional facility.
Merck & Co and France’s Sanofi agreed to help make J & J’s vaccine earlier this year.
A European Union official told Reuters earlier this month that J&J had flagged potential supply problems that could affect its plans to deliver 55 million doses of vaccines to the bloc in the second quarter of the year.
IDT is already producing AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to developing its own coronavirus vaccine, while Takeda handles the Japanese approval, import, and distribution process for Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc.’s coronavirus vaccines.
Reporting by Manas Mishra and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Additional information from Ludwig Burger; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta, Kirsten Donovan