- WuXi Vaccines on Tuesday said it's signed a 20-year deal with an unidentified "global vaccine leader" to exclusively manufacture one of the company's vaccine products.
- The $3 billion contract calls for a dedicated facility to produce the vaccine for worldwide sale. The Chinese manufacturer is already building a plant in Ireland and expects it to be operational in 2022, according to a Feb. 18 statement.
- WuXi Vaccines, a joint venture of WuXi Biologics and Shanghai Hile Bio-technology, first announced the signing of a letter of intent for the deal in May of last year.
WuXi Vaccines says the deal reflects an endorsement of its manufacturing capabilities for vaccines, which can be challenging to produce.
The company is trying to expand its footprint globally, starting with a $240 million investment in the new facility in Ireland. The plant will be part of the WuXi Biologics Campus and next to what it calls the "Factory of the Future" biologic drug substance manufacturing facility, slated to open in 2021.
WuXi Vaccines hasn't released the name of the global vaccine manufacturer. Sanofi, one of the top four vaccine makers globally, said in May it wasn't involved and Pfizer confirmed to BioPharma Dive on Feb. 20 that it's not involved.
Merck & Co. declined to comment, while GlaxoSmithKline, the other vaccine major, didn't respond to requests for comment in May and again on Feb. 20.
WuXi Biologics, meanwhile, has been working to expand its presence as a top contract producer of biologic medicines. In January, the CDMO announced a deal to buy Bayer's drug product manufacturing facilities in Leverkusen Germany, after spate of manufacturing partnerships in 2018 and 2019.
As of last June, WuXi Biologics was contracted to work on 117 clinical projects, 15 of which are in Phase 3, and one commercial project.
Although the company has extensive operations in China, WuXi Biologics says its business has been largely unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak. The company does not operate in Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus' spread — and doesn't have any major suppliers in the city.
Others have seen some impact. WuXi Apptec, which originally housed WuXi Biologics, said in a Feb. 12 statement that its site in Wuhan remains closed.