Merck extends agreement with Australian company

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Merck has extended an existing agreement with Australian biopharmaceutical formulation company Sypharma to support the manufacture of Vaxine's investigative vaccine against COVID-19.

Adelaide-based Vaxine recently announced its COVAX-19 investigational recombinant spike protein vaccine has entered a phase one clinical trial.

Sypharma is performing the fill and finish of the vaccine and manufacturing the adjuvant Vaxine is using to enhance the efficacy of COVAX-19.

Merck is supporting production by providing process development expertise and services.

“To bring these products to market at unprecedented speed, it calls for a strong support within the ecosystem,” said Ganeshan Varnakulasingham, Business Strategy and Innovations manager at Sypharma. “Merck has had a long-standing relationship with Sypharma and Vaxine for more than 10 years, supporting the manufacture of Advax adjuvants with manufacturing solutions, single-use, filtration products and process development expertise.”

“Merck in Australia will support Australian biopharmaceutical and manufacturing customers such as Vaxine and Sypharma in solving their toughest problems,” said Rebecca Lee, managing director at the Life Science business of Merck in Australia.

“We look forward to playing a part in this significant milestone and in helping to take this vaccine candidate to clinical trials.”

Ms Lee told BiotechDispatch Merck's long history in life science production and manufacturing positions the company to assist Australian organisations at such an important time.

She said the pandemic has led to a new era in collaboration, particularly between companies, and that this new way of working could become an enduring and even permanent feature of the industry.