Texas A&M University has been picked to lead the mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate made by Novavax, Inc. as part of a federal order to get a vaccine to market as quickly as possible.
The order, part of Operation Warp Speed, is between the federal government and A&M’s Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing, which came into being in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.
As a subcontractor to the Texas A&M System, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies owns and operates three facilities built through the university’s CIADM program. They can be tapped for emergency use by the federal government.
Valued at about $265 million, the task order also will help accelerate a planned expansion at the FDB facility by helping fund the purchase of new equipment for use in the current pandemic and in future emergencies.
“The Texas A&M System is ready to save lives and help protect the country,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “This whole project is a triple win. It’s a win for the Texas A&M System. It’s a win for FDB. It’s a win for the nation.”
View a video on the Texas A&M System’s role in the project here.
Operation Warp Speed aims to begin delivering millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determines vaccine candidates are safe and effective.
Novavax is being funded by the government to develop, manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate.
Another FDB plant in North Carolina is already producing the Novavax vaccine candidate for its clinical trials. FDB is slated to transfer the manufacturing process to College Station in late 2020 and start bulk production in early 2021.
“FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is committed to be a partner for life and deliver these much-needed COVID-19 vaccine doses,” said Dr. Gerry Farrell, chief operating officer of FDB in Texas. “We are ready to move swiftly to deliver on multiple vaccine candidates as directed by the U.S. government.”