Vaccine manufacturing: COVID-19 and beyond

In 2020, the biopharmaceutical industry set a historic pace at which new therapies have been taken from research to full-scale manufacturing and distribution in the race to find treatments for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

After approximately a year of research and technology development, two RNA based vaccines, produced by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech respectively, received emergency use authorization in the United States and European Union. In China, emergency use has been granted for just one vaccine, produced by Sinopharm and Russia has also granted one vaccine approval to date. A pipeline of more than 800 therapies are still under evaluation for how they may also be used to alleviate the effects of COVID-19 on different patient populations.

In this interview, Nandu Deorkar, Vice President of R&D, Biopharma Production at Avantor, shares insight about the different vaccines’ technologies and the lessons we can learn from the industry’s historic ramp-up from research to manufacturing.

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Dr. Nandu Deorkar

Vice President, Research & Development – Biopharma Production

During his more than 25-year career in materials technology research & development, Dr Deorkar has worked on various aspects of chemical/polymer R&D, drug development, formulation, drug delivery technologies, process development, and technology transfer. Dr Deorkar earned his PhD in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey (USA).

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Avantor®, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading global provider of mission-critical products and services to customers in the biopharma, healthcare, education & government, and advanced technologies & applied materials industries. Our portfolio is used in virtually every stage of the most important research, development and production activities in the industries we serve. One of our greatest strengths comes from having a global infrastructure that is strategically located to support the needs of our customers. Our global footprint enables us to serve more than 225,000 customer locations and gives us extensive access to research laboratories and scientists in more than 180 countries. We set science in motion to create a better world.