Drug maker AstraZeneca said Thursday it had reached its first deals for 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine it is testing, supported by an investment from the US immunization agency.
The Anglo-Swedish company said it had received more than $ 1 billion from the U.S. Medical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting this fall.
The investment will accelerate the development and production of the vaccine, said AstraZeneca chief executive officer Pascal Soriot. It has already joined forces with the British government and is in talks with the Serum Institute of India and other potential partners to increase production and distribution.
“We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available,” said Soriot.
Pharmaceutical companies, including Moderna and Sanofi, are fighting to develop and produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus, as experts believe it will be crucial to allow countries to ease their restrictions and restrictions on public life.
In a statement as markets opened, AstraZeneca said it has now secured its manufacturing capacity for 1 billion doses and that it intends to enter into new agreements to expand its capacity over the next few years. months “to ensure the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine”.
The company has also finalized its licensing agreement with the University of Oxford for the vaccine, now known as AZD1222.
The vaccine was developed by the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Oxford Vaccine Group.
Testing of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine began in healthy volunteers in Britain in April with more than 1,000 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.
The trial data is expected soon and if the results are positive, further trials will take place in other countries.
“AstraZeneca recognizes that the vaccine may not work,” the statement said, “but is committed to advancing the clinical program quickly and to intensify risky manufacturing.”