US Cancels Deal With Emergent BioSolutions Due to Contaminated J&J COVID-19 Doses

The U.S. federal government has canceled a multimillion-dollar contract with Emergent BioSolutions, a Maryland-based vaccine producer with facilities in Baltimore that was discovered to have manufactured millions of tainted Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this spring.

The news was revealed by Emergent on Thursday during a conference call to discuss its latest financial performance. According to the Post, Emergent will lose around $180 million as a result of the contract’s cancellation.

Emergent BioSolutions helped the Trump administration speed up vaccination research and delivery. However, after securing a contract from the previous government, Emergent rapidly encountered production issues.

Ingredients used to make the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine injections contaminated 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March. 

The vaccination difficulties created a months-long manufacturing delay which forced the Biden administration to place Johnson & Johnson indirect control of vaccine manufacturing in that country.

The lapses at the Bayview factory in Baltimore hampered J&J’s efforts to be a major player in vaccinating people, particularly in remote areas and poor countries. 

It only requires one dose and standard refrigeration and it’s also cheaper than some other vaccines. However, there have been problems with the Emergent plant.

The Food and Drug Administration repeatedly cited Emergent in the past for problems such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials, and problems managing mold and other contamination around one of its facilities.

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