Can pharma meet its lofty goals for coronavirus vaccine production?
Pharma companies have been in a mad dash to meet the world’s expectation of producing a coronavirus vaccine.
Of course, there are massive hurdles ahead. If history is any indicator, many of these vaccines will ultimately fail. And even if a candidate is approved, the greater imminent challenge of scaling up production remains.
Can the pharma industry quickly make enough vaccines to put an ultimate end to the pandemic? CRB’s Niranjan Kulkarni, Ph.D. and Rob Boulanger, Ph.D. discuss the topic in a Pharma Manufacturing article, “Coronavirus vaccines: The billion dose dash.”
Boulanger asks the industry to explore flexible options:
To get a sense of the average capacity at a vaccine production facility, Boulanger says it’s useful to look at the pandemic response plan that was put in place by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), to leverage existing facility space.
A challenge Kulkarni points out is that bringing a newer type of vaccine to scale, such as mRNA, provides its own unique challenges, even though the technology exists to manufacture them.
If changing equipment or process, you need to requalify your equipment and validate the process changes. That takes time.
Companies will also need to eye solutions for expanding fill-finish capacity. Kulkarni explains: