Africa Coronavirus Health Manufacturing South Africa

Manufacturing of candidate COVID-19 vaccine on African soil

South African Aspen Pharmacare, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aspen Holdings, has entered into an arrangement with Janssen Pharmaceutical, an arm of Johnson & Johnson, for the commercial reproduction of candidate COVID vaccine Ad26.COV2-S.

Aspen Pharmacare will do the formulation, filling as well as secondary packaging of the vaccine. After which it will be supplied to Johnson & Johnson.

The fine print of the agreement, including the terms of manufacturing, is yet to be concluded. Further, the technology transfer required to complete the successful implementation of the deal has not yet been finalized.

The manufacturing will be done at one of Aspen Pharmacare’s sterile facilities, which has the capacity to produce 300 million doses per annum, located in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Currency, the proposed vaccine is undergoing clinical trials.

To date, Aspen has poured in over US$3M of investment to prepare the plant and capacitate it to be able to produce world standard, sterile vaccines, and drugs. The facility in question has received accreditation from several medical regulatory authorities internationally.

Also read: South Africa’s Aspen agrees initial deal to make J&J vaccine candidate

We have invested globally in our sterile capability and are determined to play a role in the manufacture of vaccines to add to our proud track record of making contributions to humanity in times of global pandemics. This has included, inter alia, being a leading global supplier for antiretrovirals for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, multi-drug-resistant-TB products, and COVID-19-related treatments such as anesthetics and dexamethasone. We have been selected as a vaccine partner by Johnson & Johnson and this project will receive priority focus. We are particularly pleased to be given the opportunity of providing assistance for patients in need across the world from our South African base.

Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive (Aspen Holdings Press Release)

At the beginning of this year, COVID-19 spread rapidly across the globe. The rate of contagion prompted lockdowns in many countries effectively stopping any business activity. As a result, many economies have and are still suffering from the effects of this pandemic.

More recently some countries saw a resurfacing of the second wave of infection. On the economic front, the devastation on business, especially small business, is immense and many businesses have shut down for good. In light of this, both the promise of the vaccine and the development of African soil are exciting prospects.

Original article on The Exchange

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