CureVac and Novartis have signed an initial agreement for the manufacturing of CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV.
Preparations for the start of production, technology transfer, and test runs are already underway.
Following final agreement, Novartis plans to start production in the second quarter of this year, and first deliveries of the bulk drug product to CureVac are expected in the summer.
Production will take place in a new high-tech production facility that was already under construction at Novartis’ Kundl, Austria site. The facility will be adapted to the needs of mRNA vaccine production for CureVac’s CVnCoV, the manufacturing of which is highly complex.
Novartis plans to produce up to 50 million doses of the mRNA and bulk drug product for the CureVac vaccine this year, and up to a further 200 million doses in 2022. The bulk drug product will then be delivered to CureVac for further processing and filling.
Steffen Lang, Global Head of Novartis Technical Operations and member of the Novartis Executive Committee, said: “We feel it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help and we are pleased to announce our collaboration with CureVac.
“At the Kundl site, Novartis is a pioneer and has decades of experience in pharmaceutical production of proteins and in more recent years of nucleic acids. We are currently expanding our site with additional capacities for the production of mRNA in order to best serve the increasing demand.”
Dr Florian von der Mülbe, Chief Production Officer of CureVac, added: “I am very pleased that with Novartis we have found another highly experienced partner to support the production of our vaccine candidate.
“Together with Novartis we expect to increase significantly our manufacturing capacity and place our production network on an even broader base.”
Germany-headquartered CureVac began building an integrated European vaccine manufacturing network with several CDMO partners in the autumn of 2020. So far, CureVac has announced partnerships with Bayer, Fareva, Wacker, and Rentschler, among others.