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How Catalent Biologics facility in Bloomington plays a significant role in vaccine rollout

Catalent Biologics
Posted at 10:13 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 22:13:13-04

BLOOMINGTON — For those Hoosiers who have received or plan to get either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, there is a possibility that vial came from Central Indiana.

“When you think about biologics in the United States, for filling especially, Bloomington is one of the centers of excellence,” Denis Johnson, Vice President and General Manager of Catalent Biologics in Bloomington, said.

The facility in Monroe County plays a critical part in providing vaccines for Americans.

“We had people volunteering to come in on Thanksgiving. We had people volunteer to come in on Christmas, so we’ve been running 24/7, weekends, holidays-- making vaccines for the American public,” Johnson said.

The Bloomington facility fills and packages the vial doses of both vaccines before it is sent back to each company for distribution.

“I would suggest that most people, if they called their networks of family and friends, it would be unlikely they couldn’t find somebody that had been vaccinated from Bloomington,” Johnson said.

The plant has grown in the past year to six high-speed vial filling lines. One is now dedicated solely to producing Moderna COVID-19 vaccines through June 2023. The facility also employs more than 2,800 people and is hiring "hundreds and hundreds" more.

“It’s really innovative cutting edge field it was growing rapidly before COVID and it just happened it was the right tool to go after COVID quickly,” Johnson said.

On Tuesday, Moderna released that it hit its 100 million dose goal by late March with the help of Catalent.

Johnson attributes a great team to keeping up with the demand.

"A lot of people think of a site like ours and think about the equipment, right? They think about the lines. More important than the production lines is the skillset of the employees.”

Johnson feels the biologics field will continue to grow and things will not be slowing down at the Bloomington Catalent site any time soon.

“You know what you’re working on and your kids are talking about it at school. For me that’s made it incredibly rewarding,” Johnson said.

Catalent said it was already on track to grow before the pandemic, but now that has accelerated with the important role it is playing in the vaccine supply chain.