drugmaker Wockhardt on Monday announced that it has entered into an agreement with the UK government to help supply COVID-19 vaccines to their population through a subsidiary facility in North Wales. The agreement is expected to help address a major supply challenge global vaccine makers have flagged during this pandemic — the need for enough vials to rapidly fill the finished vaccine solutions.
In India, the firm is in talks with the government to provide its capacity to fill-finish (to fill vials) the vaccines at its facility in Aurangabad, which can cater around 600 million doses a year, as per Wockhardt founder chairman Dr Habil Khorakiwala. It is also in talks with various other vaccine manufacturers, currently in early stage human trials, for similar tie-ups.
The agreement with the UK will make use of the 400-million vial capacity of Wockhardt’s subsidiary, Wrexham-based CP Pharmaceuticals, according to him. While Wockhardt is expected over the next few months to fill vials with around 30 million doses of the vaccine candidate developed jointly by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, the agreement doesn’t limit its services to this candidate.
Khorakiwala said the agreement means that CP Pharmaceuticals will cater to the vaccine candidates that the UK government has entered into agreements for, including those developed by Sanofi-GSK, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna-NIAID. “It depends on what the UK government wants. They have worked on a strategy to tie up with multiple manufacturers and they will decide … what kind of vaccine they want for themselves …,” he said.
Following talks with the Indian government, the firm is of the understanding that, as of now, it is part of the country’s vaccine management programme, he added. “We have been in touch with the scientific advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr K. VijayRaghavan, and we are in communication with him,” Khorakiwala said.
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