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AstraZeneca in agreements to enable global access to COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca manufacturing

AstraZeneca has taken the next steps in its commitment to global access to the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, following agreements with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

“We are working tirelessly to honor our commitment to ensure broad and equitable access to Oxford’s vaccine across the globe and at no profit. Today marks an important step in helping us supply hundreds of millions of people around the world, including to those in countries with the lowest means. I am deeply grateful for everyone’s commitment to this cause and for their work in bringing this together in such a short time,” says Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca.

A $750m agreement with CEPI and Gavi

The company has reached a $750m agreement with CEPI and Gavi 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, AstraZeneca 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.

Global access

Together, the agreements mark the latest commitments to enable global access to the vaccine, including to low and middle-income countries, beyond AstraZeneca’s recent partnerships with the UK and US. The company 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.

The Access to COVID-19 Tools

The agreement with CEPI and Gavi also represents the first advanced market commitment through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global mechanism co-chaired by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO). The mechanism will work to ensure the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine across the world including in low and middle-income nations. CEPI will lead development and manufacturing and Gavi will lead the procurement within the global mechanism.

400 million doses to the US and UK

AstraZeneca recently agreed to supply 400 million doses to the US and UK after reaching a license agreement with Oxford University for its recombinant adenovirus vaccine, formerly ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and now known as AZD1222.

Oxford University recently announced the start of a Phase II/III trial of AZD1222 in about 10,000 adult volunteers. Other late-stage trials are due to begin in a number of countries. AstraZeneca recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical programme with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.

Pandemic response

The company’s pandemic response also includes mobilisation of AstraZeneca’s global research efforts to discover novel coronavirus-neutralising antibodies to prevent and treat progression of the COVID-19 disease, with the aim of reaching clinical trials in the next three to five months. Additionally, the company has moved into testing of new medicines to treat the infection, including the CALAVI and ACCORD trials underway for Calquence (acalabrutinib) and the DARE-19 trial for Farxiga (dapagliflozin) in COVID-19 patients.

Photo: AstraZeneca