Teesside ‘leading the way’ as Covid vaccine to be manufactured at Billingham

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Confirmation that Billingham’s Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will be the sole manufacturer of a “spectacular” new coronavirus vaccine has been welcomed with joy by local leaders.

The UK has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine which has just passed its third and final stage of clinical trials and is shown to be 89.3 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus in participants, including against the new UK variant.

Once given the green light by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), production will begin, with Fujifilm Diosynth manufacturing the bulk of the product.

“Since the start of the pandemic I’ve worked closely with government ministers and officials to make sure our hugely talented and world leading biosciences sector plays a full role in vaccine production,” said Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen.

“This culminated in the deal being struck in August last year for Fujifilm Diosynth being the sole manufacturer of the Novavax jab.

Image Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 29/01/2021. Billingham, United Kingdom. The UK manufacturing site for the new Novavax Covid-19 vaccine – Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Billingham, Teesside. Picture by Tom Banks / i-Images

“Once again Teesside is leading the way and putting itself on the world stage for the fantastic work we do in our region.

“This is a significant announcement that everyone in Teesside should be proud of.

“It just goes to show that our region has the businesses and the people with the expertise to lead on a global stage. It’s fantastic to see our area is a leader in fighting Covid.”

Rubber stamping the deal, the government’s business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The results from the UK trial of Novavax’s vaccine look promising, and I welcome the news that the company is planning to submit its data to the regulators.

“Once our medicines regulator receives the data, it will begin to carry out its crucial, independent work to assess whether the vaccine meets robust standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.

“The UK moved quickly to procure 60 million doses from Novavax and I’m pleased to confirm the bulk of the vaccine will be manufactured on Teesside and delivered during this year, if approved for use.”