J&J looks to Aspen to manufacture investigational COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Aspen is pleased to announce that one of its wholly-owned South African subsidiaries, Pharmacare Limited (which trades as Aspen Pharmacare), has entered into a preliminary agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, two of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), for the technical transfer and proposed commercial manufacture of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2-S.

A generic COVID-19 themed image
The manufacturing of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate will receive priority focus at Aspen Pharmacare’s sterile facility in Port Elizabeth

The vaccine candidate is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Aspen Pharmacare will perform formulation, filling and secondary packaging of the vaccine for supply to J&J. This agreement is still subject to the successful completion of the relevant technology transfer activities and finalisation of certain commercial manufacturing terms.

Aspen Pharmacare has agreed to provide the necessary capacity required for the manufacture of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate at its existing sterile facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

A world-class facility

Aspen has invested in excess of R3 billion in the facility together with the high technology equipment and systems that will be used to manufacture state-of-the-art sterile drugs and vaccines, packaged into vials, ampoules and pre-filled syringes. The production area where it is intended that the vaccine candidates will be manufactured has capacity to produce more than 300 million doses per annum.

The facility has accreditation from a range of international regulatory authorities and provides lifesaving medicines to both the domestic and international markets. It was part of the first flagship investments announced at the president’s inaugural South African Investment conference.

Invested in its sterile capability

Stephen Saad, Aspen group chief executive, comments: “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.

“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.”     



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