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COVID-19

Company: Jubilant-HollisterStier in Spokane alone in Washington in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines

Employees of Jubilant-HollisterStier in Spokane have been producing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics such as remdesivir.  (courtesy Jubilant-HollisterStier)

A pharmaceutical manufacturer in Spokane has been making vaccines that hold the promise of ending the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jubilant-Hollisterstier plant on North Regal Street is reportedly the only such manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics in the state of Washington. Its 900 local employees are capable of producing up to 500,000 doses per day.

Representatives of the company said it is supporting a few dozen vaccines and drugs in various stages of development, whether they are on the market or months away. And while representatives could not say which version of the COVID-19 vaccine Jubilant-HollisterStier is producing, the company did confirm the Spokane-based facility is developing doses of remdesivir, a treatment option recommended by the World Health Organization.

“You can call it one of the hidden gems,” said Amit Arora, president of Jubilant HollisterStier, during an interview with KHQ.

Jubilant-HollisterStier develops pharmaceuticals – including cancer drugs and related vaccines as well as eye and ear medications , according to the company website .

Efforts to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics began in late March. The company is not responsible for distribution, however; representatives said that is determined by the manufacturer’s customers.

“It really goes back and forth a few times,” Arora said to KHQ of the manufacturing process. “You have to go through the rigor of X number of doses, which are for testing, before the final product comes out of that site.”

To that end, Jubilant-HollisterStier has ramped up to a 24/7 production schedule to meet the needs, according to the company.

While Jubilant-HollisterStier once had close to 600 employees prior to the pandemic, representatives said that number has increased by roughly 300 jobs. The positions, the company added, have been hired locally.

As a result, representatives said the facility has the capacity to produce anywhere from 400,000 to 500,000 doses of a vaccine per day, though representatives could not say how much the facility is actually producing. In developing enough manpower to reach that schedule, the company said newer employees have gone through six months of training and shadowing before entering the manufacturing floor.

Throughout coronavirus-related production, the facility also has continued production of non-COVID-19 pharmaceuticals.

Despite this, non-COVID customers have exhibited flexibility and understanding as Jubilant-HollisterStier’s efforts have ramped up during the pandemic.