Michigan-based Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) hopes to have its first batch of supplemental monkeypox vaccine doses ready for December delivery, CEO Tom Ross said Friday.
The company has been tapped as the US-based partner for Bavarian Nordic (BVNRY) – the sole supplier of the smallpox vaccine used to fight the global monkeypox outbreak.
As a result of unprecedented demand, the small Danish company was asked by the Biden government to find a US-based partner for the US’s second order of 2.5 million doses of the vaccine.
Ross told Yahoo Finance in an interview on Friday that the company is targeting November to complete production of its first batch, which will then be ready to distribute “sometime in December.”
Bavarian Nordic said in a statement on Thursday that the technical transfer process has already begun and should take three months, about a third of the usual time. The partnership frees up its manufacturing capacity to distribute more doses worldwide.
GRAM’s first partnership with the US government was in late 2020, when it signed a contract to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine, cementing a relationship with the US Department of Health and Human Services. The company received $120 million from the US government earlier this year to help expand capacity for future organic production.
It remains unclear whether GRAM will continue to produce the vaccine, JYNNEOS, above 2.5 million. Ross said it all depends on whether the outbreak is under control by then. When asked whether the US government’s stretching of doses — to get five doses from one vial — could affect future orders, Ross said it remains unclear.
“We are building as soon as possible to support Bavarian Nordic,” Ross said.
“The overall timeline will depend on how the disease progresses. There are so many factors out of our control, it’s hard to predict those things,” he added.
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