Catalent plant in Italy will help produce J&J's potential COVID-19 vaccine: minister

ROME (Reuters) - A plant in Italy owned by U.S. group Catalent will help produce the potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, Italian Health minister Roberto Speranza said on Monday.

“It is today’s news that the vaccine Johnson & Johnson is working on will also be completed here,” the minister said during a visit to the site in Anagni, a town 70 km from Italian capital Rome.

The plan to produce the potential vaccine in Italy represents an expansion of an existing deal between the two American companies.

In April, New Jersey-based Catalent signed an agreement with J&J to provide vial-filling and packaging services at its plant in Bloomington, Indiana.

Catalent is also handling fill and finishing services for AstraZeneca’s project to develop a COVID-19 vaccine at its plant in Anagni.

It plans to handle hundreds of millions of doses for the British drugmaker, starting as early as August 2020 and possibly running through until March 2022.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Jan Harvey