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The acquisition gives Novovax an annual operating capacity of more that one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine antigen.
On May 27, 2020, Novavax, a late-stage biotechnology company specializing in next-generation vaccines, announced the acquisition of Praha Vaccines, part of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, in an all cash transaction of approximately $167 million. The acquisition includes a biologics manufacturing facility and associated assets in Bohumil, Czech Republic.
With the acquisition, Novavax will have an annual capacity of more than one billion doses of antigen for NVXâCoV2373, Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, starting in 2021. The vaccine candidate consists of a stable, prefusion protein antigen made using the company’s proprietary nanoparticle technology and includes the company’s proprietary MatrixâM adjuvant.
The acquisition includes the 150,000-ft2 state- of-the-art vaccine and biologics manufacturing facility and other support buildings, along with the existing employees and all related and required infrastructure. The facility is completing a renovation that includes biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) capabilities. As part of the transaction, approximately 150 employees with significant experience in vaccine manufacturing and support have joined Novavax.
The acquisition is supported by Novavaxs’ funding arrangement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Novavax will work collaboratively with the Serum Institute of India (SII), part of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, to increase production levels at the Bohumil facility by the end of 2020.
“Manufacturing capacity is a critical component of our strategy to deliver a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, in a company press release. “This acquisition provides the vital assets required to produce more than 1 billion doses per year. In parallel with ramping up production at Bohumil, we will continue efforts to expand antigen capacity in the [United States] and Asia, and increase production of Matrix-M to match antigen capacity at multiple sites globally.”
“We believe Novavax and Praha reflect the ideal complement of capabilities and expertise to advance innovative vaccines that are vitally needed at this critical time,” said Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman and founder of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, in the press release. “We are confident that the technologies and employees are in good hands and look forward to continuing our collaborations with Novavax.”