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County Durham’s GlaxoSmithKline supports Billingham’s FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies on Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

A North East pharmaceutical firm has joined forces with a fellow regional company in a partnership it say will help deliver up to 60 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will provide ‘fill and finish’ services for the Novavax inoculation from its Barnard Castle factory, in County Durham.

Its work will complement that of Billingham’s FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, which is making a crucial component in Novavax’s vaccine from its regional base.

Officials say GlaxoSmithKline’s work will begin in May.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tonight (Monday, March 29) hailed the partnership as proof of “the strength of UK manufacturing”.

‘Fill and finish’ refers to the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing, which includes preparing, packaging and distributing vials.

Roger Connor, president of GSK vaccines, said: “We are delighted to support Novavax and the UK Vaccines Taskforce with this manufacturing arrangement.

“Our Barnard Castle facility is now undertaking the rapid preparation work required to manufacture up to 60 million doses of this vaccine.

“We have ensured we can deliver these volumes without impacting supply of our other vital medicines and vaccines, and without disruption to the other COVID-19 collaborations we are engaged in globally.”

Prime Minister Johnson added: “I’m delighted by GSK’s investment, which shows the strength of UK manufacturing, and will further boost our vaccine rollout.

“The Vaccines Taskforce has worked hand in glove with business to successfully deliver vaccines to the whole of the UK, and this agreement will continue to support our approach.”