Aspen to manufacture leading Covid-19 vaccine in Port Elizabeth

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Nov 2, 2020

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CAPE TOWN- South African-owned company Aspen Pharmacare has entered into an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture and formulate the company's Covid-19 vaccine at its existing facility in Port Elizabeth.

The technical transfer and proposed commercial manufacture of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate comes after Aspen invested over R3 billion in the facility. There is now high technology equipment and systems that will be used to manufacture state-of-the-art sterile drugs and vaccines, packaged into vials and pre-filled syringes.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV are two of the subsidiaries of the American multinational company Johnson & Johnson.

A press statement released on Monday said: "The vaccine candidate is currently undergoing clinical trials. Aspen Pharmacare will perform formulation, filling and secondary packaging of the vaccine for supply to Johnson & Johnson."

The Port Elizabeth production area where the vaccine candidates will be manufactured has capacity to produce more than 300 million doses per annum.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine candidate is currently in Phase 3 of clinical trials and is on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of 26 top candidates to go into human clinical trials.

Aspen Group chief executive, Stephen Saad, said: “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.

“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 anaesthetics and dexamethasone.”

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