Pfizer Covid deal for Croda, Yorkshire chemical giant

Croda International HQ in Snaith, East Yorkshire

Shares of East Yorkshire-based speciality chemical giant Croda International Plc rose about 7% on Tuesday after it announced it entered into an agreement with Pfizer Inc. to supply novel excipients “used in the manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.”

Croda shares soared to around £66.80 to give the East Yorkshire firm a stock market value of about £8.6 billion.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech announced on Monday their experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Excipients play a central role in the drug development process and in the formulation of stable dosage forms and in their administration.

“The contract with Pfizer runs for five years and awards Croda an initial supply contract for four component excipients used in the production of the vaccine candidate for the first three years of the contract,” said Croda.

“Demand remains subject to relevant approvals.

“Croda’s recently acquired subsidiary, Avanti Polar Lipids, Inc. specialises in the development and production of high-purity lipids, to produce research and clinical trial quantities of excipients in order to stabilise formulations and enable delivery into the body by parenteral mechanism (injection) for drug and vaccine applications.

“Croda’s existing health care business has a 20-year track record in developing IP-rich, innovative technologies for drug delivery systems for the pharmaceutical industry and has been working with Avanti, prior to and since its acquisition by Croda, to refine the complex processes involved in achieving the volumes of high-purity excipients required by its pharmaceutical customers.

“Croda has reprioritised investment, resources and other projects across the group over the last few months to focus on the delivery of this project.”

Croda CEO Steve Foots said: “I’m very proud of Croda’s involvement in the battle to fight the most significant pandemic that we have seen in a generation.

“The application of our innovative capabilities is testament to the strong progress we have made to create industry-leading drug delivery systems, focused on developing speciality excipients and adjuvants to improve the effectiveness and stability of complex drug actives and vaccines.”