With patients enrolled for clinical trials for this vaccine, rapid development of the large-scale manufacturing process is a critical step in quickly and safely delivering it from the lab to patients.
"We have brought the future of vaccine manufacturing to the present," said Udit Batra, member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science. "This is an important step in treating Covid-19 and other diseases that impact global public health. This work marks a milestone in the vaccine manufacturing development journey, as clinical testing continues to advance."
Tapping into Merck's previous work provided a solid head start for plans to scale-up the manufacture of Jenner's Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Developing the manufacturing process itself would normally take at least six months to a year, but in just two months' time, Merck supported the Jenner team and their collaborators to evaluate the existing manufacturing platform for use with the new vaccine candidate, and improved critical process steps.
Over the last two years, Merck's collaboration with The Jenner Institute has led to the development of a rapid, scalable platform following good manufacturing practices and using disposable technologies for the Institute's adenovirus platform. While the initial work was developed with a rabies vaccine candidate, the platform was then validated with different adenovirus constructs aiming at accelerating future vaccine development and manufacturing. Speed is a major challenge when facing a new outbreak such as this unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. The organizations first announced their partnership to develop more robust and scalable vaccine manufacturing processes in April 2018.
"In an unprecedented time period, The Jenner Institute's team was able to develop the 10-liter manufacturing scale process based on the previously generated platform with Merck, preparing us for the next round of scale-up efforts," said Dr. Sandy Douglas, vaccine manufacturing scale-up project lead at The Jenner Institute. "Industry collaborations, such as ours with Merck, showcase the value that these efforts have in accelerating our response to outbreaks and pandemics and quickly delivering lifesaving vaccines to benefit the global population."