AstraZeneca ties up with Indian company to produce potential vaccine
Biopharma major AstraZeneca has entered into an agreement with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), among other world-wide vaccine manufacturers, to produce the vaccine currently under trial at the University of Oxford on a mass scale, if successful.
“Our vaccine work is progressing quickly”, the university said on Friday. It recently announced the start of a Phase II/III trial of the vaccine in about 10,000 adult volunteers with other late-stage trials due to begin in a number of countries around the world.
The agreements, reached on a not-for-profit basis includes a $750 million agreement with the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to support the manufacturing, procurement and distribution of 300 million doses of the vaccine, with delivery starting by the end of the year.
“In addition, the university and industry partnership reached a licensing agreement with SII to supply one billion doses for low-and-middle-income countries, with a commitment to provide 400 million before the end of 2020”, the university said.
Adar Poonawalla, SII’s chief executive officer, said: “Serum Institute of India is delighted to partner with AstraZeneca in bringing this vaccine to India as well as low-and-middle-income countries”.
“Over the past 50 years SII has built significant capability in vaccine manufacturing and supply globally. We will work closely with AstraZeneca to ensure fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine in these countries,” he added.
AstraZeneca recently agreed to supply 400 million doses to the US and UK after reaching a licence agreement with Oxford for its recombinant adenovirus vaccine.
Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, said: “We are delighted to see this major agreement with global industry partners which brings to fruition the goal of Oxford University and AstraZeneca to help ensure very large scale fair and equitable Covid-19 vaccine provision in low to middle income countries around the world”.
The university said that together, the agreements reached mark the latest commitments to enable global access to the vaccine, including to low-and-middle-income countries, beyond the company’s recent partnerships with the UK and US.
AstraZeneca is building a number of supply chains in parallel across the world to support global access at no profit during the pandemic and has so far secured manufacturing capacity for two billion doses of the vaccine, it added.