The move is the latest development in a controversy over Emergent's production of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine, the latest of three to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Last week, Emergent admitted that it manufactured a batch of the vaccine in the Baltimore facility that "did not meet specifications and our rigorous quality standards."
According to various media reports, the company mixed up components of the coronavirus vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson and its rival, AstraZeneca. All told, the offending batch was equivalent to roughly 15 million doses of vaccine; Johnson & Johnson has promised to deliver 100 million by the end of next month.
Emergent disposed of the Johnson & Johnson batch, but its reputation suffered, particularly given the high degree of importance in producing coronavirus vaccines. While the pace of vaccinations has increased significantly in the U.S., the coronavirus is still a major health threat in the country, and barely over 30% of Americans have had at least one shot.
This is compounded by the fact that, of the three authorized vaccines, only Johnson & Johnson's is a single-jab solution, as opposed to a shot-and-booster regime.
Quoted by National Public Radio, Johnson & Johnson said of its new responsibility as the Emergent facility's manager that it will boost "the number of manufacturing, quality and technical operations personnel to work with the Company specialists already at Emergent."
On Monday, Johnson & Johnson stock closed 0.4% higher, lagging the 1.4% gain of the S&P 500 index. Emergent, still somewhat of a pariah due to the mishap, fell by 2.3%.