Merck, a leading science and technology company, has announced that it has signed an agreement with biotechnology company Innovative Biotech (IB) to design the manufacturing process for the first vaccine production facility in Nigeria.
“We are committed to expanding access to life-saving and life-enhancing therapies to patients across the world and this collaboration is a testament to that commitment,” said Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector at Merck. “We are proud to provide the technical support and expertise that could help enable the first vaccine facility in Nigeria and localise vaccine development in the West Africa region.”
This collaboration is part of the West African pandemic readiness program, which aims to localize vaccine development in the African nations. The first phase of this integrated partnership focuses on designing the fill and finish facility, incorporating the company’s Mobius® single-use technology, while the second phase will focus on enabling continuous manufacturing.
Pictured left to right: Dr. Jose M Galarza, CEO, TechnoVax; Mr. Sohal Shah,
Strategic and Financial Adviser, TechnoVax; Dr. Simon Agwale, CEO, Innovative Biotech; Dr. Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
“By leveraging the company’s facility design expertise, we’ll be able to build the first vaccine production facility in Nigeria and manufacture high-quality and affordable vaccines locally,” said Simon Agwale, CEO of Innovative Biotech.
Innovative Biotech’s licensor, TechnoVax, is developing a virus-like-particle (VLP)-based vaccine to target variants of Covid-19. Provisional results from the preclinical studies of the VLP-based vaccine have shown promise for virus neutralization. Technovax is a 2019 recipient of Life Science’s Advance Biotech Grant for developing a virus-like particle platform that facilitates the development and production of a range of vaccines targeting the prevention of respiratory diseases, hemorrhagic fevers, immunodeficiency and cancers.
The Life Science business sector has been supporting Innovative Biotech’s effort with its BioReliance® testing services, technical transfer support and single-use facility design. This partnership showcases the company’s commitment to supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities in the Middle East and Africa.