As progress is made around the world on the different vaccine projects against Covid-19 – including in Spain – our country has again been selected to manufacture one of the future vaccines against the virus. The American pharmaceutical company Novavax has announced that the Spanish bio-pharmaceutical company Zendal, located in Porriño (Pontevedra), will be tasked with carrying out the industrial production of its vaccine.
The agreement with the pharmaceutical company from Galicia comes on top of the one by Moderna – also American – with the Spanish company Rovi Pharma Industrial Services, notified in July whereby the pharmaceutical company will fill and seal vials for the vaccine that the North American company wishes to supply markets outside of the United States.
Through this agreement, the company from Galicia, through one of its subsidiaries – Biofabri – will be the EU company tasked with the industrial production of the vaccine antigen designed by the pharmaceutical company from Maryland whose clinical trials are currently in phase 2, while estimating that phase 3 will start at the end of the third quarter of 2020. Hence, production will start in Spain as from this date.
Zendal is thus placed at the head of the bio-technological companies, as the only Spanish company to date to join the manufacture process of one of the vaccines to prevent Sars-Cov-2 that is being worked on, furthermore, at a European level.
The driving role of AEMPS and the Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health, through the Spanish Agency for Medication and Health Products (Spanish acronym: AEMPS) provides support and is in contact with Spanish manufacturers, with the aim of boosting manufacturing capacities in Spain and facilitating dialogue with the different parties that take part in the production of vaccines. AEMPS has been exploring the productive and filling capacities of different laboratories since the start of April, the vaccine platforms on which they work and the speeds at which they work, among other aspects, to boost their role in pharmaceutical production to combat Covid-19.
This type of agreement gives a major boost to Spain’s pharmaceutical industry, in the global production capacity for the future vaccine, thus guaranteeing greater and improved access to the population.
The race by Spain’s pharmaceutical industry to combat the coronavirus
Since the start of the health crisis, Spain’s powerful pharmaceutical industry has played a crucial role in the fight against the virus. According to data from Farmaindustria – the sector’s national business association – 82 medication production plants in Spain have been working at full capacity, doubling and tripling shifts and making adaptations at plants to produce specific medication against Covid-19. This has all been carried out in close collaboration with AEMPS.
This mobilization has not just taken place in Spain, but around the world, to develop effective treatments and vaccines, on which Spain has been playing a very active role. In fact, it is the leading country in Europe and the fourth in the world on clinical trials of medication, and is developing one of the vaccine projects.
A dynamic sector of the economy
As well as being key in the battle against the Covid-19 virus, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the industrial sectors with the greatest weighting in the Spanish economy. In fact, Spain is the sixth largest European producer of medicines, with exports mainly to Germany, France, Italy and Ireland in the European Union, and to such non-EU countries as Switzerland, the United States, Japan and China, according to The pharmaceutical industry in Spain (Statista, 2019). Furthermore, it is the fifth largest pharmaceutical market in terms of sales and jobs. With 320 pharmaceutical companies and turnover of more than 14 billion euros it is, in summary, one of the most dynamic sectors of the Spanish economy.