Emergent BioSolutions has been one of the largest winners from the contract manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines but, having ruined 15 million doses of J&Js COVID-19 vaccine, it is poised to lose this position as it is struggling to find qualified personnel, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Peter Shapiro, Senior Director Drugs and Business Fundamentals at GlobalData, comments: “Expedited COVID-19 drug development has led to an increase in hiring by Emergent since January 2020, according to GlobalData’s Jobs database. Most of these positions are in the US and involve manufacturing. Like many CMOs, Emergent has had difficulties finding qualified personnel to hire. At one point in the pandemic, Emergent held a series of online recruitment events featuring former OWS head Moncef Slaoui.”
In response to Emergent’s manufacturing problems, the Biden administration has invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to place J&J in full control of manufacturing at Emergent’s injectable dose and packaging facility.
Shapiro continues: “Use of the DPA has been a hallmark of the Biden administration. Under the Trump administration, there was no consistent enforcement of the DPA, among other inconsistencies in the central management of the pandemic.”
Until now, Emergent was a preferred manufacturer under Operation Warp Speed (OWS) – the US Government’s effort to fund the development of several COVID-19 vaccines in parallel.
Shapiro continues: “This switch is another obstacle for AstraZeneca, which is anticipating Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its vaccine from the FDA and has already encountered manufacturing problems in other regions.”
Emergent has secured contracts with four different OWS vaccine programs: Novavax, Vaxart, J&J and AstraZeneca. Emergent is also manufacturing several COVID-19 treatments.