GSK to support the manufacturing of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine
“I’m delighted by GSK’s investment, which shows the strength of UK manufacturing, and will further boost our vaccine rollout. The Vaccines Taskforce has worked hand in glove with business to successfully deliver vaccines to the whole of the UK, and this agreement will continue to support our approach. We remain on track to offer a first jab to all over 50s by 15 April, and all adults by the end of July, and I want to once again encourage everyone to come forward for a vaccine when you’re called,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
GSK’s role in the manufacturing process of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate
As part of the agreement in principle GSK will provide ‘fill and finish’ manufacturing capacity from its Barnard Castle Facility beginning in May 2021. Rapid technology transfer between the two companies will begin immediately.
Under an advanced purchase agreement, the UK government has secured 60mn doses of the vaccine from Novavax.
“GSK is delighted to support Novavax and the UK Vaccines Taskforce with this manufacturing arrangement for the UK and our Barnard Castle facility is now undertaking the rapid preparation work required to manufacture up to 60m doses of this vaccine. We have ensured that we can deliver these volumes without impacting supply of our other vital medicines and vaccines, and without disruption to the other COVID-19 collaborations GSK is engaged in globally,” commented Roger Connor, President, GSK vaccines.
GSK’s fill and finish services
Fill and finish is the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing, preparing vials of the final vaccine, packaging them for distribution and use. GSK’s facility at Barnard Castle, is a specialised facility in the company’s global manufacturing network which supports production of GSK pharmaceuticals and vaccine products.
“This partnership with GSK continues the expansion of our global supply network, which we expect to increase overall production capacity and, if approved by regulatory agencies, support access to a potentially important new vaccine against COVID-19. We thank the UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce for its instrumental role in ensuring the progress of our COVID-19 vaccine, from both a clinical and now manufacturing perspective, as well as GSK for making their facilities available to help fight the pandemic,” said Rick Crowley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Novavax.
IHS Markit/CIPS: UK Manufacturing PMI near-record high
UK manufacturing trends
For the UK manufacturing sector, growth of output and new orders were both reported by IHS Markit and CIPS as among the best seen over the past seven years, which in turn has led to a strong increase in employment. Despite this, the sector continues to face supply chain delays and input shortages, which resulted in increased purchasing costs and record selling price inflation.
UK Manufacturing IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®)
Seasonally adjusted, IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 60.9 in April, which was an increase compared to March (58.9) and above the estimated 60.7 for April.
Increasing for the eleventh consecutive month, the latest readings are the highest since July 1994 (61.0). The output growth for April has been attributed to the loosening of lockdown restrictions, improving demands and a rise in backlogged work.
“The manufacturing sector was flooded with optimism in April as the PMI rose to its highest level since July 1994, bolstered by strong levels of new orders and the end of lockdown restrictions opened the gates to business. It was primarily the home market that fuelled this upsurge in activity though more work from the US, Europe and China demonstrated there were also improvements in the global economy. This boom largely benefited corporates as output growth at small-scale producers continued to lag behind,” said Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
In addition to expanding production, total new orders rose for its third consecutive month, which was attributed to a revival of domestic market conditions, stronger client confidence, parts of the economy reopening and improving global market conditions.
While new exports rose in April, the rate was reported as weaker in comparison to new orders. “Companies reported improved new work intakes from several trading partners, including mainland Europe, the US, China and South-East Asia. Large-sized manufacturers saw a substantial expansion in new export order intakes, compared to only a marginal rise at small-sized firms,” said IHS Markit/CIPS.
UK Manufacturing’s outlook
Remaining positive at the start of the second quarter, 66% of companies forecast that output will be higher in a year's time, which is attributed to expectations for less disruption related to COVID-19 and Brexit, economic recovery, improved client confidence and new product launches.
“Further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions at home and abroad led to another marked growth spurt at UK factories. The headline PMI rose to a near 27-year high, as output and new orders expanded at increased rates. The outlook for the sector is also increasingly positive, with two-thirds of manufacturers expecting output to be higher in one year’s time. Export growth remains relatively subdued, however, as small manufacturers struggle to export,” said Rob Dobson, Director at IHS Markit.
Adding to comments from IHS Markit and CIPS, , Managing Director of Freight and Logistics at Accenture Global said: “While today’s figures are positive overall, the worsening supply situation is still a concern, with rates of both input costs and selling price inflation running far above anything previously seen. Shipping delays and material shortages are driving huge backlogs of uncompleted work and the surge in manufacturing orders is leading to many firms struggling to boost operating capacity to keep up with demand. With business expectations becoming even more optimistic as the economy rebounds, the big question will be whether firms will be able to cope with the surging inflows of new orders.
“As ongoing supply chain issues are still at large, companies with wide international footprints should look to reassess their logistics strategies by running supply chain stress tests and simulations in order to respond quickly to upswings and variability in demand. A flexible and resilient supply chain will be a key way for businesses to remain both competitive and stable as we emerge from the pandemic”