Merck to manufacture Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine

Merck has entered into multiple agreements to support the expansion of the supply of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines.

Vials labelled 'CORONAVIRUS VACCINE' on a production line - idea of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

Merck (MSD outside the US and Canada) revealed in a statement that it has entered into several arrangements through which it will support efforts to expand manufacturing capacity and supply of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

The company said it has entered an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), under which it will receive up to $268.8 million in funding to adapt and make available a number of existing manufacturing facilities for the production of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.

Additionally, the company has agreed to support the manufacture and supply of the single-dose Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. It signed agreements with Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and will use its US facilities to produce drug substance, formulate and fill vials of the vaccine. The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine received Emergency Use Authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this week.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to contribute to the global response to the pandemic as part of the remarkable efforts of the entire medical and scientific community,” said Mike Nally, executive vice president, Human Health at Merck. “This funding from BARDA will allow us to accelerate our efforts to scale up our manufacturing capacity to enable timely delivery of much needed medicines and vaccines for the pandemic.”

According to the company, the BARDA funding is in addition to its own investment in its global vaccines manufacturing network, as part of its planned capital investments of more than $20 billion from 2020 through the end of 2024.

“At Merck, we have a rich legacy in vaccine manufacturing and look forward to combining our expertise with Johnson & Johnson to help increase supply and expand access to authorised SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines,” said Sanat Chattopadhyay, executive vice president and president, Merck Manufacturing Division.