Monkeypox doses ready by December: Michigan manufacturer

Michigan-based Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) is hoping to get its first batch of additional monkeypox vaccine doses ready for delivery by December, CEO Tom Ross said Friday.

The company has been tapped to be the U.S.-based partner for Bavarian Nordic (BVNRY) — the sole supplier of the smallpox vaccine being used to fight the global monkeypox outbreak.

As a result of the unprecedented demand, the small Danish company was asked to find a U.S.-based partner by the Biden administration for the U.S.’s second order of 2.5 million doses of the vaccine.

Ross told Yahoo Finance in an interview Friday that the company is targeting November to complete production of its first batch, which will then be ready to distribute “some time in December.”

Bavarian Nordic said in a statement Thursday the technical transfer process has already begun and should take three months, about one third of the usual time, to complete. The partnership frees up its manufacturing capacity to distribute more doses globally.

GRAM’s first partnership with the U.S. government was in late 2020, when it clinched a contract to produce Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine, cementing a relationship with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The company received $120 million earlier this year from the U.S. government to help with capacity expansion for future biologics production.

It remains unclear if GRAM will continue to produce the vaccine, JYNNEOS, beyond the 2.5 million. Ross said it all depends on if the outbreak is under control by then. When asked if the U.S. government’s stretching of doses — to get five doses from one vial — could impact future orders, Ross said it remains unclear.

“We’re ramping up as quick as we can to support Bavarian Nordic,” Ross said.

“The overall timeline is going to be dependent on how the disease progresses. There are so many factors beyond our control, it’s hard to predict those things,” he added.

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