CSL Announces Partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific
Global biotechnology firm, CSL, has entered into an agreement with its long-term partner, Thermo Fisher Scientific. The partnership will allow Thermo Fisher, to lease CSL’s biotech manufacturing site that is currently undergoing construction works in Switzerland. The decision to lease its facility was well-thought-out by CSL who, following a strategic review, aims to capitalise the abilities of the Lengnau facility when completed next year. CSL has previously commenced construction in 2015 with the intention of fulfilling the commercial production of three next-generation recombinant products.
Chief Operating Officer Paul McKenzie believes that the decision will aid the process of transforming CSL’s supply chain in ensuring the company continues to operate at its most optimal level. The partnership will also provide CSL with access to a broader range of skills and capabilities provided by Thermo Scientific, whose expertise surrounds the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, Thermo Fisher will assist CSL’s biologics portfolio by taking charge of the production side of operations and overseeing contract manufacturing services such as fill-and-finish and packaging for several CSL products. More broadly speaking, both firms are no strangers to each other. Thermo Fisher has been a crucial supplier of third-party services to CSL, including laboratory supplies and instruments, cell culture growth media and single-use technologies.
As global movement restrictions start to ease, the race towards the successful development of a coronavirus vaccine intensifies. Presently, there are more than 100 coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline with slightly more than one-tenth who have now made it to human trials thus far. Likewise, CSL intends to develop a COVID-19 vaccine upon confirmation that it will back any distributor to secure a sufficient quantity of vaccines for Australians.
CSL is working closely with the University of Queensland (UQ) in a bid to manufacture a protein-based vaccine. The firm’s vaccine division, Seqirus, has provided UQ with access to adjuvant, otherwise known as MF59. Specifically, the substance is included in the vaccine to boost immune response and will be made available to UQ as other potential vaccines. The firm’s chief medical officer, Charmaine Gittleson further reinforced CSL’s position to open up its Broadmeadows factory in Victoria should local scientists succeed in manufacturing a feasible vaccine.
More broadly speaking, the positive sentiment was shared by Citi on 28 May 2020. The broker upgraded its recommendation to a buy, with a target price of $334.00. This is because it believes that CSL should experience little financial implications in the case if a competitor wins the race towards developing a successful product.
Yet, this is not the only initiative that CSL is working on. Back in April, CSL has also announced that it will be working with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical to develop a potential therapy to be used in the treatment of COVID-19. Moving forward, while it remains uncertain if CSL’s plasma collection division will affect the firm’s financial performance, CSL is certainly in a good position as it has successfully priced a USD750 million private placement.
By Caroline Wong
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