German company making COVID vaccines for the world

IDT Biologika makes vaccines for leading drug manufacturers, including immunizations for COVID-19. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have commissioned the mid-sized contract research company in Dessau-Roßlau, Saxony-Anhalt, to make several million of doses their vector vaccines weekly.


Reports say IDT Biologika (IDT) is well-positioned to play a key role in fighting the pandemic precisely because it provides an unusually broad range of services. Unlike many of its competitors, the company provides everything from the earliest stages of product development to ingredient manufacture, as well as bottling, refrigeration, and packaging. According to IDT, its plant in Dessau has 2000 liters of fermenting capacity for vaccines.

At the same time, the company – which this year is marking its 100th anniversary – says it has plans to expand its fermenting and other services. In a statement, IDT announced it is devoting EUR 100 million to increase production capabilities. These will include a state-of-the-art bottling plant and more bioreactors that will give the facility the largest manufacturing capacity in Europe. Company executives expect operation to begin by the start of 2023 and allow IDT to produce as many as five million doses of vaccine each week. This growth comes at a time when contract manufacturing is proving vital in facing the challenges posed by COVID-19.

CEO Jürgen Betzing said of IDT, “We’re playing in a global league. Of the top twelve pharmaceutical companies, more than half of them are our customers.” He added that IDT, a leading regional employer, had revenues of EUR 213 million in 2020.

Meanwhile, IDT has been developing its own vaccines for COVID-19 and MERS, another type of corona virus, in cooperation with the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Both use the same viral vaccine vector called “modified vaccina Ankara,” or MVA. University hospitals in Hamburg, Marburg and Munich are involved in these projects.

IDT is just one example of the experience, productivity, and drive to innovate that characterize Germany’s medical biotechnology industry. The company’s work also demonstrates synergies between basic research and industry and government support that have made Germany an international leader in the field

The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the place to find more information on the sector. The initiative has published the German Medical Biotechnology Industry Profile and produced a video Medical Biotechnology Made-in-Germany which provide information on German medical biotech for interested individuals and businesses from abroad.