- Other partners include Bayer, GSK, Fareva, Rentschler.
- Novartis site to come on-stream in summer of 2021.
- Novartis to make up to 50 mln doses this yr, more next year.
FRANKFURT: German biotech firm CureVac has enlisted Swiss pharma giant Novartis to help with the production of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, boosting a network of contract manufacturers ahead of results from a pivotal trial.
Novartis plans to manufacture the mRNA molecules that the two-shot vaccine is based on as well as "bulk drug product" for up to 50 million doses by the end of 2021 and up to a further 200 million doses in 2022, the two companies said on Thursday.
Delivery from the manufacturing site in Kundl, Austria, is expected to start in summer 2021, they added.
The deal adds Novartis to a list of CureVac contractors for manufacturing and filling vials that include Bayer, family-owned Fareva of France, Wacker and Rentschler Biopharma SE, among others.
Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, which is working with CureVac on next-generation vaccines that target several coronavirus variants with one shot, will also help with production this year.
CureVac, which began late-stage testing of the vaccine in December, has said it expects to announce interim results this quarter and that it aims to produce up to 300 million doses in 2021 and between 600 million and 1 billion doses in 2022.