News & Trends - Biotechnology

CSL manufacturing of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine reaches final stages

Health Industry Hub | February 12, 2021 |
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Biotech News: CSL’s final stages of manufacturing of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for Australia are planned to commence next week, with first doses on track for release towards the end of March 2021, subject to approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Since late last year, local manufacture of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been underway at CSL Behring’s advanced manufacturing facility in Broadmeadows, Victoria. This process employs 2,000 litre bioreactors within which a host cell line is expanded and then used to produce the adenovirus-based vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. The vaccine is then purified and stored in preparation for the next stage of the process. 

“Reaching this milestone would not have happened without around the clock work from our skilled team across both CSL Behring and Seqirus, with ongoing support from AstraZeneca. While the work isn’t over, we are incredibly proud to be on the cusp of delivering a locally made vaccine for Australians,” said Dr Andrew Nash, CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer. 

“Some of the most critical work is still to come – in particular, extensive quality checks that will be behind every finished vaccine. We continue to be heartened by the extraordinary amount of scientific collaboration happening across industry, academia and government, as we all work towards the delivery of effective vaccines and therapies to address this pandemic,” he added.

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Early next week, the final manufacturing phase will commence at CSL’s Seqirus facility in Parkville, Victoria. The vaccine is formulated to a precise concentration, before being repeatedly filtered and filled into vials ahead of labelling and packing. At the same time, each batch of finished vaccine will undergo an extensive quality check process – by CSL, by AstraZeneca, and by the TGA.

Seqirus fill and finish will continue to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with expected release of two million doses at the end of March, and then one million doses per week thereafter. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently being considered by the TGA for use in Australia. AstraZeneca will manage the application for registration for the vaccine on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The Australian Government is responsible for all rollout and implementation of COVID-19 vaccination in Australia.

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