UK begins production of Valneva COVID-19 vaccine
The announcement follows a multi-million pound, joint investment made by the UK government into the facility in 2020 as part of an agreement in principle to secure early access to the vaccine. The UK has already secured 60 million doses, with an option to acquire a further 130 million id proven to be safe, effective and suitable.
Valneva in the UK: advancing vaccines for better lives
Valneva is a specialist vaccine company founded in 2021. The company focuses on the prevention of diseases with “major unmet needs.” Currently, Valneva has several unique vaccines in development including Lyme disease, COVID-19 and chikungunya, as well as two commercial vaccines for travelers.
Valneva’s Livingston facility has been - for over a decade - producing FDA/EMA/MHRA approved commercial-grade travel vaccines. The facility will be the production hub for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Valneva states that the UK government will allow it to “expand the site’s capacity for drug substance production, accelerate clinical development and increase the number of ”
“By starting manufacturing, we will have a running start at rolling these out as quickly as possible to protect the British public if it receives regulatory approval. This facility in Scotland, backed by millions from the Government, will help us beat coronavirus and boost our resilience against future pandemics,” commented Business Secretary .
Sanofi and Pfizer/BioNTech
Elsewhere in Europe, Sanofi has entered into an agreement with BioNTech where Sanofi will support the manufacturing and supply of BioNTech’s approved COVID-19 vaccine co-developed with Pfizer.
“We are very conscious that the earlier vaccine doses are available, the more lives can potentially be saved. Today’s announcement is a pivotal step towards our industry’s collective goal of putting all the effort in to curb this pandemic,” commented Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi.
Sanofi states that its priority is to continue to develop its two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and provide BioNTech access to its infrastructure and expertise to produce more than 125 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Europe.
“Although vaccination campaigns have started around the world, the ability to get shots into arms is being limited by lower than expected supplies and delayed approval timelines owing to production shortages. We have made the decision to support BioNTech and Pfizer in manufacturing their COVID-19 vaccine in order to help address global needs, given that we have the technology and facilities to do so. As always, our top priority is to focus our efforts and capabilities on fighting this global pandemic. First and foremost, we will do this by continuing to develop our own COVID-19 vaccines candidates, in parallel with this industrial cooperation,” added Hudson.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.