Japan's Fujifilm gets $265 million U.S. contract to boost output of potential virus vaccine

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a tour of the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies' Innovation Center, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant where components for a potential coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate Novavax are being developed, in Morrrisville, North Carolina, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States has awarded a $265 million contract to a Texas facility of Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp to step up production of a coronavirus vaccine candidate, President Donald Trump said.

Trump made the announcement on Monday, as he toured another Fujifilm facility in North Carolina. The order widens a pact between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Texas A&M university system and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

The funds will speed by several months an expansion planned at the Texas facility in College Station, with completion now expected this fall, Fujifilm said in a news release.

Last week, Fujifilm Diosynth, a drug ingredient subsidiary of the Japanese firm, said it would make bulk drug substances for Novavax Inc.’s virus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

It added that it would spend $928 million to double capacity at a Denmark facility that is also involved in making virus treatments.

The company’s shares climbed 3.2% in Tokyo in a flat overall market.

Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Clarence Fernandez