J&J Vaccine Shipments Halted After Contractor Ruins 15 Million Doses

Human error blamed for mix-up at Emergent BioSolutions plant that produced components of two different vaccines.
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A mix-up at an Emergent BioSolutions  (EBS) - Get Report manufacturing plant in Maryland ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s  (JNJ) - Get Report COVID-19 vaccine, forcing a halt in deliveries from the plant, according to published reports.

The problem occurred about two weeks ago, after workers mixed up ingredients for the J&J vaccine with those for Astra Zeneca’s  (AZN) - Get Report, the New York Times reported. 

All shipments from the plant have been halted by the Food and Drug Administration, which is investigating the incident.

No currently distributed J&J vaccines were affected, but the plant is supposed to produce millions of the single-shot vaccines which are expected to help the United States ramp up its COVID-19 vaccinations in coming weeks.

The J&J vaccine requires only a single shot, compared with two for vaccines from Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report and Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report.

Emergent BioSolutions signed a contract to product vaccine components for J&J last July in a deal valued at $480 million over the first two years, according to a statement issued at the time. The company has committed to manufacturing deals with several other pharmaceutical companies developing vaccines including Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Report, Vaxart Inc.  (VXRT) - Get Report, and Humanigen  (HGEN) , Reuters reported.

In February, the company topped analyst estimates partly on the basis of its work producing vaccine components.

“Our differentiated CDMO [contract development and manufacturing organization] value proposition has been validated by our eight and counting CDMO COVID-19 partnerships and our growing pipeline and portfolio. We've carved out a leading position as a Tier 1 biologics CDMO organization,” CEO Robert Kramer said on a call with analysts at the time. 

Shares of Emergent BioSolutions fell $7.61, or 8.2%, to $85.30 in after-hours trading.