GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON:GSK) announced it will help produce up to 60mln doses of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine candidate (NVX-CoV2373) developed by Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX), which may be approved as soon as next month.

The FTSE 100 firm signed an agreement in principle with Novavax and the UK government.

READ: GlaxoSmithKline dismisses former US vaccine executive from board of investee over sexual harassment allegations

The doses are meant to be distributed in the UK based on approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which is expected during the second quarter.

Professor Paul Heath, chief investigator for the Novavax jab trial in the UK, told the Evening Standard the green light could come “in the spring, possibly end of April”.

GSK will provide ‘fill and finish’ manufacturing capacity at its Barnard Castle facility in the North East of England, a place that rose to fame after Downing Street political adviser Dominic Cummings said he drove there from London during the first national lockdown in 2020 to test his eyesight.

‘Fill and finish’ is the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing, preparing vials of the final vaccine and packaging them for distribution and use. Work is expected to begin as early as May.

“We’ve all seen just how important onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities are, and this fantastic deal will ensure more of these vital products can be produced here in the UK,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock noted in a release.

“The UK’s vaccination programme has been a national success, with over 30 million people now having received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

–Adds Paul Heath quote–

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