British drugmaker AstraZeneca has made clear its intent to rapidly scale production of Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine hopeful despite a dearth of clinical data to support its use. Now, with an eye-popping deal worth three-quarters of a billion dollars, AstraZeneca is putting its money where its mouth is.
The British pharma has inked a $750 million deal with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to manufacture and distribute 300 million doses of Oxford's adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, the drugmaker said Thursday.
AZ also agreed to a licensing deal with the Serum Institute of India to provide 1 billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries, with the goal of 400 million produced by year's end.
In total, the deals will bring AstraZeneca's overall supply capacity for Oxford's vaccine candidate to more than 2 billion doses per year, the drugmaker said. The agreement will task CEPI with manufacturing the vaccine, while Gavi will handle procurement.
The marketing effort will be overseen by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's and World Health Organization's Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which will "ensure the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine across the world," according to a release.
AstraZeneca's enormous manufacturing and distribution layout represents the single largest effort so far to pump hundreds of millions of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine hopeful onto the market before the end of 2020.
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