Wrexham company CP Pharmaceuticals to supply Covid-19 vaccines in UK Government deal

Work could start on manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines in Wrexham as early as next month. Credit: PA Images

A Wrexham-based pharmaceuticals company has signed a deal with the UK Government to supply vaccines in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

Under the 18-month agreement, CP Pharmaceuticals - a subsidiary of global pharmaceutical giant Wockhardt - will carry out the "fill and finish" stage of the manufacturing process.

This involves dispensing the manufactured vaccine substance into vials, ready for it to be distributed.

Work could start on Covid-19 vaccines in Wrexham as early as next month, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

Among the potential injectables supplied will be the University of Oxford's vaccine AZD1222, licensed by AstraZeneca.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Ensuring the UK has the capability to research, develop and manufacture a safe and effective vaccine is critical in our fight against coronavirus.

"Today we have secured additional capacity to manufacture millions of doses of multiple Covid-19 candidates, guaranteeing the supply of vaccines we need to protect people across the UK rapidly and in large numbers."

India-based Wockhardt has had a presence in Wrexham for over two decades and employs more than 400 people at its 612,000 square feet factory.

The Wrexham firm will play a critical role in helping to get the vaccines to patients. Credit: PA Images

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: "This agreement demonstrates the importance of Welsh manufacturers in the UK's fight against coronavirus, highlighting once again the strengths of working together across the UK to combat the pandemic.

"Securing this manufacturing capacity means that safe and effective vaccines, produced in Wales, will potentially be distributed rapidly to people across the UK."

Dr Habil Khorakiwala, founder chairman of Wockhardt, said: “The pandemic of COVID-19 is a challenge for all and needs a concerted effort to overcome.

"As a global organisation, we are focussed and committed to assist in mitigating the worldwide impact of COVID-19.”

Last week, the UK Government signed a deal with pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

A deal was also struck last month with BioNTech, which is working with Pfizer and Valneva, for access to their vaccines.

A further agreement has been signed with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for their jab, which could produce 100 million doses for the UK.

Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the Government's Vaccines Taskforce, said: "We have made significant progress in securing a diverse portfolio of potential vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, adding a fourth vaccine candidate from GSK and Sanofi earlier this week. However, discovering a successful vaccine is only part of the solution - we also need to be able to manufacture it.

"Fill and finish is a critical step in the process to get the vaccine in a form to be given to patients. The agreement with Wockhardt will boost our capability to ensure that from the moment a successful vaccine is identified we will be able to produce the quantities of vaccine required, as quickly as possible, for the people who need it."