FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a world leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for biologics, viral vaccines and viral vectors, welcomed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Teesside at its Billingham site, on Saturday 13 February to meet the team working to support the manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
During the visit, the Prime Minister toured the FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies facilities where the antigen component (active ingredient) of Novavax’ NVX-CoV2373 COVID-19 vaccine will be manufactured as well as other life-impacting therapies. Fujifilm’s leading technical expertise in baculovirus systems and biopharmaceutical manufacturing excellence is contracted by Novavax to produce antigen for up to 180 million vaccine doses.
The Prime Minister toured the laboratories and manufacturing facilities and was explained the science and technology behind Fujifilm’s work by a small number of the site’s 850-strong workforce who are playing a crucial role in vaccine production.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
"I was delighted to visit Fujifilm today, and hear from Paul Found, Sarah Maxfield, Abigail Tyerman, Jonathan Haigh and others about the work being done to manufacture the Novavax vaccine, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.
If approved, Novavax will further strengthen our already record breaking vaccine rollout. The work of the team here to get this vaccine ready showcases some of the very best of British science and manufacturing.
I’m hugely proud of the efforts here at Fujifilm, as we all come together to beat this pandemic. I urge you all to keep up this vital work, helping to get those vaccines into arms and protecting our most vulnerable."
Paul Found, chief operating officer, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, UK, said:
"As we prepare for production, we were extremely honoured to host the Prime Minister at our state-of-the-art development and manufacturing facilities on Teesside. During the tour, the Prime Minister had great interest in seeing our science and technology at work, and speaking with a small number of our talented team who are working on the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine programme. The entire Fujifilm team feels a strong sense of pride that we are contributing to help address the pandemic."
Novavax initiated Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK in September 2020. In January 2021, the company announced that NVX-CoV2373 met the primary endpoint, with a vaccine efficacy in the UK Phase 3 trial as a result of the first interim analysis. The vaccine was shown to be 89.3% effective in preventing coronavirus in participants, as well as efficacy against new UK variant.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is also manufacturing the antigen component of the Novavax vaccine candidate at its North Carolina and Texas in the U.S.