Novavax EU vaccine supply deal slowed by production problems

March 29, 2021

Novavax is delaying signing a contract to supply its COVID-19 vaccine to the EU as the U.S. biotech struggles to obtain some raw materials, according to an exclusive Reuters source.

The pending deal, which was supposed to be signed earlier this year, is for at least 100 million doses of Novavax’s NVX‑CoV2373 vaccine, with an option for another 100 million.

But according to Reuters' unnamed EU official, the vaccine maker is stalling. According to the source, a Novavax exec said slow pace in negotiations was warranted because the company was having production problems.

This wouldn't be the first time the Maryland-based biotech — one of seven vaccine makers to win funding from Operation Warp Speed — has been plagued by manufacturing issues. Back in November, Novavax had to push back the start of its late-stage vaccine trial while dealing with issues related to scaling up manufacturing.

Novavax’s phase 3 trial in the U.S. is still ongoing, but a successful 15,000-subject U.K. phase 3 clinical trial found that the vaccine is more than 96 percent effective in preventing mild and severe illness.

Novavax is manufacturing in eight different locations, including the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker. The Serum institute is helping Novavax expand production at its 14,000-square-meter Czech facility, recently purchased by Novavax, plus manufacturing an additional billion doses itself, in India.

Reuters' source said EU talks were ongoing and Novavax aims to sign the EU deal by June.