In this week’s news, Sanofi contracted to expand US vaccine plant, Pfizer talks up in-house CDMO, Novartis working hard to prep Japanese contractor and more…

Sanofi contracted to up pandemic flu vaccine capacity

Contract manufacturing was a hot topic for top tier drug firms last week with Pfizer, Sanofi and Novartis all talking about third party manufacturing.

First up was Sanofi which said it would increase cell-based vaccine manufacturing capacity at its Swiftwater, Pennsylvania facility under a $226m contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The HHS contract was issued in September in response to an executive order designed to strengthen the US’ influenza pandemic preparedness plan.

The idea is that Sanofi’s cell-based production method will allow the country to produce vaccine more quickly than traditional egg-based methods.

Pfizer discusses in-house gene therapy CDMO

Pfizer meanwhile was talking up its in-house cell and gene therapy capabilities. The firm told Bioprocess Insider its own plants were becoming cost competitive with those operated by contractors.

Pfizer’s site in Sanford, North Carolina, supports its gene therapy pipeline. In August, the firm invested $500 million to build a plant based on its recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector platform for gene therapies and viral vaccines.

Speaking at the Evercore ISI 2nd Annual HealthCONx Conference last week Pfizer CSO Mikael Dolsten said the platform would be made available to other firms.

“It’s a competitive advantage, not just for our product, but for companies that wants to partner with Pfizer that may allow them to have an easier and more high-end dialogue with regulators across the globe about this new field and a new type of product.”

Novartis says Japanese Kymriah CDMO will be ready next year

Swiss drug firm Novartis shared details of how it plans to make Kymriah for the Japanese market, citing contractors as key to its strategy.

Novartis held its R&D day last week. During the presentation it said its CDMO would achieve “commercial readiness for production” for Kymriah – a cell therapy for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – by 2020.

The CDMO in question is the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation (FBRI) – which supplied Kymriah for clinical trials in Japan.

According to Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said the firm was working hard to increase capacity.

PWC expects CDMO sector growth over the next few years

PWC says continued demand, and improved insurance coverage is driving the growth of the CDMO sector in a report last week.

The firm looked at trends impacting the contracting sector, pulling in data from various market research organisations and its own analysis to present a rosy picture of the industry.

In addition to growing demand for pharmaceutical products, PWC says proliferation of liquid dosage forms will further increase demand for CDMOs with the specialist manufacturing capabilities needed to make such products.

Read the full report here.

Also in the news

DCAT looked at the movers and shakers in the CDMO sector this year.

Massbio blogged about ICH stability studies, specifically the benefits or outsourcing such work.

Invivo wrote about likely M&A activity in the gene therapy manufacturing space.

Bioprocess Insider reported Novartis new deal with Amazon. The tech firm will help the Swiss drug company revamp its supply chain network.

CDMO trends

Some developments in the CDMO space.

AGC announced plans to ramp-up plasmid DNA manufacturing capacity, citing industry demand.

PCI has begun an expansion of its Tredegar facility in Wales, UK to enhance its high potent drug manufacturing and development capabilities, including both clinical and commercial supply.

3M has agreed to sell substantially all of its drug delivery business to an affiliate of Altaris Capital Partners.