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Maryland-based company partners with Johnson & Johnson to help create coronavirus vaccine in Baltimore facility

A Maryland company announced Thursday that it’s partnering with Johnson & Johnson to help support the creation of a coronavirus vaccine at a facility in Baltimore.

Gaithersburg-based Emergent BioSolutions Inc. said in a news release that under the $135 million deal, it will provide drug substance manufacturing services along with contract development to help Johnson & Johnson achieve the goal of creating 1 billion doses worldwide to fight COVID-19.

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The vaccine will be manufactured at Emergent’s Baltimore Bayview facility that is designed for rapid manufacturing of vaccines and treatments in large quantities during public health emergencies, according to the release. The facility is classified as a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing and a result of a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The release said Johnson & Johnson is negotiating a long-term commercial manufacturing agreement to help the company be able to have large-scale substance manufacturing capabilities to reach its vaccine goal.

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“When mission-driven organizations combine talents and capabilities, potential solutions to serious issues like COVID-19 become more within reach to benefit patients," said Robert G. Kramer Sr., president and CEO of Emergent BioSolutions. "We are proud of our collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and are equally committed to our longstanding relationship with the U.S. government.

Produced by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the vaccine is adenovirus-based, the release said, and is planned to be available next year.

Emergent’s facility in the Hopkins Bayview neighborhood, has the ability to bring candidates into the clinic quickly at a clinical scale, the release said, as it works across four independent suites. It can also meet the demands for the commercial volumes, producing “hundreds of millions” of doses of the vaccine that is needed on an annual basis to meet customer demand, the release said.

“Eight years ago, HHS invested in novel public-private partnerships to create three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing or CIADMs to help strengthen the nation’s biotech infrastructure to prepare and respond to emergencies,” said Gary Disbrow, Ph.D., acting director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, in the release. “Leveraging the capacity available at the Bayview CIADM to speed development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine is precisely how we envisioned these centers be used in pandemic response.”

Emergent BioSolutions is also developing two potential treatments for COVID-19, the release said, and is collaborating with three other innovators to help develop and manufacture their vaccines.

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