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UPDATE 1-Catalent says J&J COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility received FDA authorization

(Adds background on shipments)

NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) - Catalent Inc said on Tuesday it had received the U.S. regulatory authorization it needs to produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine at its Bloomington, Indiana, facility.

J&J tapped contract manufacturers Catalent and Emergent BioSolutions Inc to scale up production and meet global supply goals for its COVID-19 vaccine. Catalent provides the final stage - called fill and finish - while Emergent makes the drug substance.

Emergent and Johnson & Johnson were not immediately available for comment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the J&J vaccine in February but only for its production facility in the Netherlands and a small fill-and-finish plant in the United States.

Based on the authorization, the company shipped nearly 4 million doses in the beginning of March, but shipments dropped sharply since then as it awaited the additional authorizations.

The company had promised to deliver 20 million shots by the end of March.

Writing by Caroline Humer Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler

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