July 1, 2020 / 1:41 PM / in a month

Spain's Reig Jofre says it could make one million - two million doses per day when COVID-19 vaccine is found

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spain’s Reig Jofre [RJFE.MC] has been in touch with the main projects racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine as it should have the capacity to produce between one million to two million vaccine doses per day next year, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday.

No agreement has been reached yet because it is too early to know who will be the first to find a potential authorized vaccine and if Reig Jofre’s production capacity will be needed, said CEO Ignasi Biosca.

The family-run pharmaceutical company plans to start operating in April 2021 a 30-million-euros new plant in Barcelona, the only one in Spain with such a large vaccine production capacity, Biosca told Reuters.

Many companies and governments are racing to scale up machinery to address a critical shortage in automated filling and finishing capacity for the billions of doses that will be needed if any of the trials on potential vaccines are successful.

Reig Jofre - which has experience manufacturing vaccines for animals - could invest two or three additional million euros to adapt its new plant for the final step in the production process of putting the COVID-19 vaccine into vials or syringes, such as guaranteeing low temperature requirements, Biosca said.

Britain’s AstraZeneca’s [AZN.L] experimental vaccine is probably the world’s leading candidate and most advanced, followed closely by United States’ Moderna [MRNA.], among more than 200 candidates, 15 of which have entered clinical trials, the World Health Organization said last week.

Reig Jofre has talked with some of the European or American projects but not with the Chinese ones, Biosca said, declining to name companies.

In case of producing the vaccines, Reig Jofre has no specific plans to which countries would they go to, with the CEO saying that is more a political decision and that it has a close communication with Spain’s health authorities.

Reporting by Joan Faus, additional reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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