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Boosting Sweden’s resilience against future pandemics

Janet Hoogstraate

Valneva Sweden, currently manufacturing the cholera vaccine DUKORAL, is preparing to perform part of the production of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, VLA2001, currently the only inactivated COVID-19 vaccine in clinical development in Europe.

“Inactivated virus vaccines are historically one of the safest and most effective vaccine development strategies, with billions of patients having been vaccinated with this technology over the past 100 years.”

“Inactivated virus vaccines are historically one of the safest and most effective vaccine development strategies, with billions of patients having been vaccinated with this technology over the past 100 years. This means inactivated vaccines can be used in people with weakened immune systems, who are at the greatest risk of COVID-19,” explains Janet Hoogstraate, Site Manager, Valneva Sweden.

Manufacturing site in Solna

Valneva’s manufacturing site in Solna, Sweden, already has an aseptic filling line in place and is now working on building another to increase capacity.

“The site has been hosting vaccine manufacturing operations for more than 30 years and has an established international distribution network. Valneva has already reallocated some of its existing filling, packaging and final product distribution capacity in Solna to VLA2001. Additional fill and finish capacity is also being established in Solna and should be operational in the second half of 2021. Valneva is the only commercial vaccine manufacturer in Sweden involved in COVID-19 fill and finish operations,” states Hoogstraate.

Drive jobs in the local community

The company is in ongoing discussions with regional and national authorities to garner support for the development and production of VLA2001, as well as Valneva’s role in boosting Sweden’s resilience against future pandemics.

Hoogstraate adds that this expansion, which is part of a broader plan to increase capacity in Sweden and at Valneva’s production site in Livingston, UK, will also help drive jobs in the local community.

Filled into vials, then packaged and distributed

The manufacturing of the vaccine itself is done at Valneva’s facility in Scotland. This drug substance, formulated bulk, will then be shipped to Sweden to be filled into vials, then packaged and distributed.

“The vaccine will likely require standard cold chain transport and storage, 2 to 8°C, meaning there is no need for specialized distribution channels, in addition to reduced deployment complexity and cost. Additionally, clinics are able to use existing facilities for storage and administration,” says Hoogstraate.

Photo of Janet Hoogstraate: Jan Landefeldt