Merck Collaborates with Innovative Biotech to Support Establishment of First Vaccine Production Facility in Nigeria

– Supports West African pandemic readiness program

– Accelerates self-sufficient vaccine development and manufacturing in West Africa

LAGOS, Nigeria, Dec. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has signed an agreement with biotechnology company Innovative Biotech (IB) to design the manufacturing process for the first vaccine production facility in Nigeria.

Merck collaborates with Innovative Biotech to design the manufacturing process for the first vaccine production facility in Nigeria. Pictured left to right: Dr. Jose M Galarza, CEO, TechnoVax; Mr. Sohal Shah, Strategic and Financial Adviser, TechnoVax; Dr. Simon Agwale, CEO, Innovative Biotech; Dr. Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

“We are committed to expanding access to life-saving and life-enhancing therapies to patients across the world and this collaboration is a testament to that commitment,” said Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector at Merck.  “We are proud to provide the technical support and expertise that could help enable the first vaccine facility in Nigeria and localize vaccine development in the West Africa region.”

This collaboration is part of the West African pandemic readiness program, which aims to localize vaccine development in the African nations. The first phase of this integrated partnership focuses on designing the fill and finish facility, incorporating the company’s Mobius® single-use technology, while the second phase will focus on enabling continuous manufacturing.

“By leveraging the company’s facility design expertise, we’ll be able to build the first vaccine production facility in Nigeria and manufacture high-quality and affordable vaccines locally,” said Simon Agwale, CEO of Innovative Biotech.

Innovative Biotech’s licensor, TechnoVax, is developing a virus-like-particle (VLP)-based vaccine to target variants of Covid-19. Provisional results from the preclinical studies of the VLP-based vaccine have shown promise for virus neutralization. Technovax is a 2019 recipient of Life Science’s Advance Biotech Grant for developing a virus-like particle platform that facilitates the development and production of a range of vaccines targeting the prevention of respiratory diseases, hemorrhagic fevers, immunodeficiency and cancers.

The Life Science business sector has been supporting Innovative Biotech’s effort with its BioReliance® testing services, technical transfer support and single-use facility design. This partnership showcases the company’s commitment to supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities in the Middle East and Africa.

About Merck
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck generated sales of € 17.5 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics.

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