Firm planning to make COVID vaccine in Canada warns it may fold

Novavax misplaced greater than $600 million final yr

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MONTREAL — An American firm that signed a take care of the federal authorities to supply COVID-19 vaccines in Montreal has warned traders it may exit of enterprise inside the yr.

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Executives at Maryland-based Novavax Inc. informed traders on a convention name Tuesday that there’s vital uncertainty surrounding the corporate’s capability to proceed funding operations as the marketplace for COVID-19 vaccines modifications.

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“Whereas our present marketing strategy and money stream forecast estimate that we’ve got adequate capital obtainable to fund our operations for the following 12 months, we acknowledge that this plan is topic to vital uncertainty,” Jim Kelly, Novavax’s chief monetary officer, mentioned on the decision.

He mentioned the corporate, which misplaced greater than $600 million final yr, doesn’t count on to promote any new vaccine through the first three months of 2023 and there are fears that funding from the US authorities may very well be minimize.

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The corporate, which has greater than $1.3 billion in money readily available, is relying on its capability to develop and promote an up to date COVID-19 vaccine subsequent fall and is reducing prices, Kelly informed traders.

In February 2021, the federal authorities introduced a take care of Novavax to start producing its vaccine at a Nationwide Analysis Council (NRC) facility in Montreal.

On the time, Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne mentioned the ability — which has the potential to supply round two million doses of vaccine a month — can be able to start manufacturing on the finish of 2021.

Nonetheless, on an NRC web site final up to date in December, the federal science and expertise company mentioned it’s nonetheless engaged on the “expertise switch” required to supply the vaccine.

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In an e-mail Wednesday night, Novavax mentioned it stays dedicated to creating its vaccine in Canada.

“Novavax continues to make progress in direction of establishing native manufacturing capabilities in partnership with NRC/(Biologics Manufacturing Centre), with manufacturing of course of efficiency qualification batches anticipated to start in early 2023,” the corporate mentioned.

Laurie Bouchard, a spokeswoman for Champagne, mentioned in an e-mail that “presently, there are not any anticipated modifications to the partnership between Novavax and the BMC.”

The corporate is presently the NRC’s solely consumer on the Montreal biomanufacturing centre, which was accomplished in 2021 and is meant to supply biopharmaceuticals corresponding to vaccines.

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“We’re persevering with to discover choices with potential collaborators on producing vaccines and different biologics on the facility on its second manufacturing line,” Christine Jodoin, the vice-president of strategic initiatives on the NRC, wrote in an e-mail.

Canada has struggled to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing. A take care of Chinese language firm CanSino Biologics — which may have seen the corporate’s vaccine manufactured on the Montreal facility — fell aside in the summertime of 2020.

Mitsubishi Chemical introduced early final month that one other firm planning the business manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, Quebec-based Medicago Inc., can be shut down.

Nonetheless, in August, vaccine big Moderna introduced it could construct a brand new manufacturing facility within the Montreal suburb of Laval.

Bouchard mentioned the federal government’s method to buying COVID-19 vaccines ensured Canadians had entry to vaccines shortly and reversed 40 years of decline in Canada’s biomanufacturing sector.

“To date, we’ve got invested $1.8 billion in direction of 33 tasks throughout the nation and we proceed to put money into the researchers, expertise and innovation that can preserve strengthening the Canadian life sciences ecosystem,” she wrote.


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