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Emergent- Adding Value to Vaccines

One of our long-standing recommendations, Emergent BioSolutions (EBS) is in the thick of the effort to help in the fight against Covid-19, notes Tom Bishop, editor of BI Research.

There are many companies currently working on vaccines for COVID-19. If they are successful, we’ll need a couple billion doses, at least.

There is a segment of Emergent which takes on contract development and manufacturing services for third parties, handling all phases from product origin and development to manufacturing and filling — with surge production capacity for just such times.

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In March, Emergent announced a development and manufacturing agreement with Novavax (NVAX) for the latter’s experimental vaccine candidate for COVID-19. Initially the company will make the vaccine for a Phase 1 trial within the next 4 months.

Emergent then announced initiation of its own efforts to develop two plasma-derived product candidates for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 using its hyperimmune platforms which have previously produced a number of products approved by the FDA.

COVID-HIG will be produced from human convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors for use in severe hospitalized patients as well as to protect at-risk individuals. COVID-EIG will use the plasma of immunized horses. These are based on proven technologies already in use.

Emergent has already initiated plasma collection with a goal of manufacturing clinical material within the next 4-5 months in anticipation of beginning clinical study as early as Q3.

The company then announced a development and manufacturing agreement with Vaxart (VXRT) whereby the company will use its “molecule-to-market” CDMO services to develop and manufacture Vaxart’s experimental oral vaccine candidate for COVID-19.

Development begins immediately with the goal to produce clinical material for a Phase 1 study anticipated early in H2. The Maryland facility it will utilize has the capacity to produce tens of millions of doses of vaccine on an annual basis.

On March 31st Emergent announced another agreement with Novavax to produce its NanoFlu seasonal flu vaccine (which recently met all primary objectives in a Phase 3 trial in adults aged 65 and older). Recall, COVID-19 has only recently equaled or surpassed the “routine” annual death toll from the seasonal flu.

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On April 2nd Emergent announced government (BARDA) support to the tune of $14.5 million for development of Emergent’s COVID-HIG and that a branch of the National Institute of Health (NIH) will include COVID-HIG in one of its clinical trials upon availability of clinical material.

Emergent is in its element and is anxious to show what it can do. So business at Emergent has really ramped up. This is what they do and they have a lot of pans on the fire. The shares remain a "Buy".