Scaling up production capacity when the world is waiting

As the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies, nations are already ramping up production capacity on a scale never seen before – but what does this mean for manufacturers? Here, Rod Schregardus makes the case for advanced planning and scheduling techniques in new and existing facilities.

Colourful SARS-CoV-2 viral particles on a blue gradient background

ACROSS EUROPE, plans to mass produce a COVID-19 vaccine are quickly ramping up. For example, Sanofi is investing more than half a billion euros in a state-of-the-art production site in Neuville sur Saône as well as a new vaccine research centre in Marcy-l’Etoile.1 Meanwhile, Novavax is using its recently acquired manufacturing facility in Bohumil in the Czech Republic to produce its own vaccine candidate.2

As well as funding research, the UK government has also pledged £100 million to produce a vaccine at scale at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree, Essex and £93 million for the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in Oxfordshire. A further £38 million will ensure a rapid deployment facility can begin manufacturing,3 while a deal with Wockhardt will see a fill and finish line start this year at the firm’s subsidiary, CP Pharmaceuticals in North Wales.4

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