Friday, May 21, 2021

Reuters: Swiss government doing secondments to Lonza

More news from Reuters on Swiss drug CMO Lonza's very interesting strategy of pulling workers from other companies/organizations* to help with the Moderna vaccine: 

The Swiss government said on Wednesday it recruited 75 people including federal and university employees to temporarily staff facilities at Lonza, which struggled to find personnel to make ingredients for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

In April, the Swiss drugmaker contacted the government for help in finding temporary workers as it sought more people for operations in Visp, Switzerland, where it has built three new production lines to make the Moderna shots. read more

Of 40 million vaccine doses ordered by the Swiss government, so far, 20.5 million are from Moderna. With Bern labelling the U.S. company's mRNA shots "extraordinarily meaningful" for its inoculation strategy, it is now directly stocking up Lonza's workforce to make sure vaccine keeps flowing.

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said the first of the provisional workforce could start in May, with deployments likely to last six months.

"We started a programme immediately to find specialists," Berset told a news conference. "We've found 75 people in the federal administration, also in the universities."

Some of those recruited are from the federal agricultural research unit Agroscope, the Office of Food Safety and the nation's testing laboratory in Spiez, the government said, with biochemistry, chemistry or pharmaceutical backgrounds.

They will remain federal employees, but Lonza will cover their salaries, food costs, travel and lodging... 

I strongly suspect these are not actually production folks, but more staffing up the QA side of the house, but maybe I'm wrong. (I suppose you would be stealing all the QC folks/analytical chemists you could get your hands on as well.) I'm genuinely impressed that Lonza is getting pretty creative in terms of solving their staffing problem. I imagine that working on the most important product in the world right now is helpful. Best wishes to them, and to all of us. 

*previous post on Lonza's staffing up with folks from Nestle

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