Local business Emergent BioSolutions has played a major role in manufacturing the newest vaccine available to combat the COVID-19 virus.
The global life sciences company, whose mission is to protect and enhance life, has been hard at work developing drug substance for COVID-19 vaccines, including the latest to be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine recently received Emergency Use Authorization, with plans to deliver 100 million doses across the country during the first half of the year. Maryland will begin distributing the third available vaccine in early March.
Learn more about Emergent's role in vaccine production (video below)
“Since the very beginning of this pandemic, I’ve said that Maryland’s world-class public health and research institutions would be at the forefront of developing and producing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines,” said Governor Hogan in an announcement last month. “We are immensely proud that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being manufactured right here in Maryland, and are very optimistic about its impact on our continued fight against this deadly virus.”
“Emergent BioSolutions is proud to have a significant presence in Maryland, including two Baltimore facilities, where critically-needed COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic solutions are being manufactured,” said Robert G. Kramer, president and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions. “For more than two decades, we have focused on addressing public health threats in support of our mission—to protect and enhance life. We look forward to contributing further to the advancement of our industry and our community."
According to Reuters, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be a one-dose shot, and can be transported more easily than other COVID-19 vaccines because it only requires refrigeration. So far, more than 49,000 doses have been allocated to Maryland for use.
Meanwhile, Emergent isn’t slowing down and continues to find new ways to battle the virus. In addition to Johnson & Johnson, the bio business is also working on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently going through clinical trials in the U.S. The Washington Post calls Emergent the “primary manufacturer of those medicines.”
The company also signed an agreement to work with fellow Maryland business Novavax on its experimental vaccine candidate last summer, which is also in the final stages of its clinical trials at this time.