Novartis signs initial agreement with CureVac to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine candidate

  • Novartis to support global supply of another COVID-19 vaccine, leveraging manufacturing capacity and capabilities to help address pandemic.
  • Novartis plans to manufacture the mRNA and bulk drug product of the CVnCoV vaccine candidate for up to 50 million doses by the end of 2021 and up to a further 200 million doses in 2022. Delivery from manufacturing site in Kundl, Austria expected to start in summer 2021.
  • One of several agreements Novartis is reviewing on a global basis to help support the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.

Basel, March 4, 2021 - Novartis announced today that it has signed an initial agreement to manufacture the mRNA and bulk drug product for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate CVnCoV from CureVac to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparations for the start of production, technology transfer and test runs are already underway. Following final agreement, Novartis plans to start production in the second quarter of 2021. First deliveries of the bulk drug product to CureVac are expected in the summer 2021.

Production will take place in a new high-tech production facility that was already under construction at the Novartis Kundl, Austria site. This will be adapted to the needs of messenger RNA vaccine production for CureVac’s CVnCoV, the manufacturing of which is highly complex. Novartis plans to produce up to 50 million doses of the mRNA and bulk drug product for the CureVac vaccine in 2021 and up to a further 200 million doses in 2022. The bulk drug product will then be delivered to CureVac for further processing and filling.

"We feel it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help and we are pleased to announce our collaboration with CureVac. At the Kundl site, Novartis is a pioneer and has decades of experience in pharmaceutical production of proteins and in more recent years of nucleic acids. We are currently expanding our site with additional capacities for the production of mRNA in order to best serve the increasing demand", said Steffen Lang, Global Head of Novartis Technical Operations and member of the Novartis Executive Committee.

Dr. Florian von der Mülbe, Chief Production Officer of CureVac, said: "I am very pleased that with Novartis we have found another highly experienced partner to support the production of our vaccine candidate. Together with Novartis we expect to increase significantly our manufacturing capacity and place our production network on an even broader base."

Novartis response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Novartis is making a number of contributions to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the stability of global health systems. The company recently announced an initial agreement with BioNtech to provide manufacturing capacity for a COVID-19 vaccination at its site in Stein, Switzerland. Novartis is committed to donating US $40 million to help communities affected by the pandemic around the world. In addition, Novartis is active in several key cross-industry research initiatives, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard as well as a COVID-19 directed partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). Novartis has also announced a collaboration with Molecular Partners to develop two DARPin therapies designed for potential use against COVID-19. The company is separately supporting COVID-19-related clinical investigations of several Novartis medicines. In our labs, we have started a collaborative, longer-term drug discovery effort to develop first oral medicines for COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. To sustain access, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division Sandoz became the first company to commit to keeping stable prices for a basket of essential medicines that may help in the treatment of COVID-19 and entered into a partnership with US-based Civica Rx to support stable supply of essential generic hospital medicines. We are making 15 drugs that treat key symptoms of COVID-19 available to low-and lower-middle income countries at zero profit until a vaccine or curative treatment is available. Furthermore, Novartis Gene Therapies entered into a manufacturing agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital to produce its novel genetic COVID-19 vaccine candidate called AAVCOVID8. More information about the Novartis response to COVID-19 is available at  www.novartis.com/COVID-19