WREXHAM’s coronavirus vaccine plants has announced it will continue bottling up supplies until next summer at least.

Wockhardt, the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology major today announced that it has been awarded a six-month extension of its agreement with the UK Government to fill-finish COVID-19 vaccines.

This builds on their original agreement from 18 to 24 months, taking them until August 2022.

The manufacturing will continue to be undertaken at CP Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Wockhardt based in Wrexham.

Dr. Habil Khorakiwala, founder chairman of Wockhardt Group said: “We are happy to extend our collaboration with the UK Government to make vaccines available and the arrangement brings in a huge sense of purpose and pride, it upholds our ongoing global commitment to fight against an unprecedented pandemic.”

Dr. Murtaza Khorakiwala, managing director and global CEO of Wockhardt adds, “The extension of the arrangement with the UK Government for manufacturing vaccines for COVID-19 showcases our global strength in world-class sterile injectable facilities and confidence by the UK Government on our expertise and experience.”

Wockhardt is one of the largest suppliers into the NHS for over 20 years, has had a presence in Wrexham for over two decades and employs over 400 people at its manufacturing facility on the town industrial estate.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss described the announcement as “a brilliant bit of news for the UK and people of Wrexham”.

She said: “It brings important investment to the local area, bringing jobs and security to the community as we battle this awful pandemic.

“Wockhardt’s investment shows the strength of our trading ties with India which is a further boost to our already-strong vaccine supply as we build back stronger from coronavirus.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng echoed this, adding: “While the UK’s vaccination programme has been a national success story so far, we need to take steps to ensure we can manufacture vaccines into 2022 should we need to revaccinate or provide boosters to the population.

“By extending our contract with Wockhardt, we will ensure the UK has uninterrupted fill and finish capacity, guaranteeing we have sufficient supplies to protect the British public in the long-term."

Meanwhile dozens of new roles will be made available at the plant on Wrexham Industrial Estate where doses of the important vaccine go along the fill-finish production line before making their way across the UK.

This has been possible due to the UK Government’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss MP, securing investment by Indian conglomerate Tata Consulting Services that will bring 1,500 high-skilled jobs to sites all over the UK - including the Wockhardt site.