Bavarian Nordic A/S, the only company with a vaccine approved for monkeypox, said it’s preparing to run production through the night to meet surging demand after the virus outbreak was declared a global emergency.
Over the weekend, the World Health Organization declared that monkeypox has now reached over 16,000 people in 70 countries. This level of alert, which aims at mobilizing more resources internationally to stop the outbreak, is the most severe since coronavirus has been sweeping the globe.
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“Whatever more demand we will face, we expect to meet it with our own resources,” Rolf Sass Sorensen, Bavarian’s head of investor relations, said by phone. “One very straight-forward solution is to run our production facility overnight and get more people in to work shifts.”
The Danish vaccine maker can produce 30 million doses per year and so far hasn’t turned down any orders from governments seeking to protect their populations. Sorensen indicated that production would increase to 30 million if the drug company worked longer hours. However, he declined to give a precise number.
Bavarian stated earlier Monday that Imvanex, its vaccine for monkeypox, now has authorization to be labeled as such in Europe. Similar clearances were made in Canada and the USA for this label extension. In Copenhagen, the stock rose by as high as 10% during early trading and has increased more than 1500% since then.
The WHO’s decision “raises the prospect of further government orders for Imvanex, the only vaccine currently available,” Peter Verdult, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note. He estimated that at least 50% of Bavarian’s production capacity could be allocated to the shot and said Bavarian may get about $100 per dose on average.
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Bavarian has the ability to contract other producers to make the vaccine, but it would “take a lot of time and would be expensive so we’re trying to avoid that,” Sorensen said. It was also unlikely that other vaccine manufacturers would be granted compulsory licenses by governments.
“The product is not something that easily can be copied so it’s highly unlikely that anyone but us would be able to quickly ramp up production of the vaccine,” he said. “It’s not a standard type of product that can be copied; you need a lot of expertise to get the vaccine to work. I would say it’s an art form.”
–With assistance from James Cone.
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