GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids pharmaceutical supplier will help finish bottles of monkeypox vaccine, making it the only company in the country to do so.

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing said it has partnered with Denmark-based Bavarian Nordic to fill and finish its vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox. It said the deal was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is working to make more monkeypox vaccine doses available.

“We are happy to play our part and are proud to be in a position to support Bavarian Nordic and the U.S. Government with the monkeypox outbreak response,” GRAM President and CEO Tom Ross said in a Friday statement. “GRAM is putting forth all efforts possible to accelerate the manufacturing of the vaccine.”

In the finish and fill process, GRAM gets the vaccine into injectable vials. It’s common for major drugmakers to farm out finishing and filling.

Ross said GRAM is the only company in the U.S. that is currently working on a monkeypox vaccine. The two companies are in the process of transferring the technology needed for GRAM to do its part.

“We’re doing our best to accelerate to full production as quick as possible. So, we’d like to think by the end of this year, we’ll be at full production or close to full production,” said Ross in a Friday interview.

GRAM, which has a facility along Front Avenue SW near Butterworth Street, says it recently added two more fill lines for a total of three, so it has plenty of capacity to handle the demand.

The company was previously contracted by the feds to help finish and fill Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. It started that work in 2020 and in April of this year signed a $120 million contract with the government to continue it.

“Two years ago, we had to respond to the Covid situation and so we produced a significant number of vaccines for Johnson & Johnson,” Ross said. “The performance that our employees have demonstrated in responding to that, the agility and focus on quality and safety and to servicing the accounts are something that we do really well. And that’s the reason that the government reached back out to us … we’re very proud of our home base in Grand Rapids and it’s pretty exciting to be the first in the country to have this, all here in West Michigan.”

The company will work to get its site ready for the vaccine over the next few months and hopes to start shipping some initial supply in November.