Biotech and Pharmaceuticals

San Diego-Based Company Signs Deal With Pfizer to Speed Up Vaccine Production

Codex DNA announced the deal this month -- their technology could change the global approach to combatting COVID-19

NBC Universal, Inc.

A San Diego-based company, Codex DNA, just signed a licensing deal with Pfizer intended to help speed up the production of vaccines.

The company’s CEO, Todd Nelson, gave NBC 7’s Madison Weil a tour of a laboratory on Monday, demonstrating how their unique technology could change the way vaccines are made worldwide. 

“We make instruments that help people get things done quicker, more accurately, faster and to help get critical drugs and vaccines to the market sooner,” said Nelson.

A close up of an instrument inside Codex DNA's laboratory, Jan. 24, 2022.

Nelson started the company in 2018. It’s been rapidly growing ever since, in part, because of the pandemic. 

He says the basis for the company was to develop what you might call a “biological printer.” Instead of photographs, it’s printing materials like DNA and mRNA. 

He says in the event of a global health crisis like the pandemic, these printers could be used around the world to print materials needed for vaccines quickly.  

CEO of Codex DNA, Todd Nelson, gives NBC 7's Madison Weil a tour of the laboratory, Jan. 24, 2022.
CEO of Codex DNA, Todd Nelson, gives NBC 7's Madison Weil a tour of the laboratory, Jan. 24, 2022.

Nelson explains Pfizer is already using this technology, but this month Codex DNA announced a new agreement with the pharmaceutical giant. 

“Our new and expanded agreement with them allows them to use our technology to get new and advanced vaccines and therapeutics,” he said. 

Looking at the future of the pandemic, the company is optimistic their technology could help combat emerging variants. 

“If another variant pops up…the hope is we can do this even faster than we’ve been able to do this in the past,” he said. 

Nelson showed NBC 7 a separate room full of these biological printers. His vision for the company is to have this technology distributed around the world. 

“Eventually…we believe these systems will have a biological vaccine that can come off of them that can go directly into someone’s arm. By doing so, we believe we can change the trajectory of future pandemics,” he said. 

Nelson added the company currently has 300 employees in San Diego but based on their growth, he predicts they’ll have 500 by the end of this year.

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