AstraZeneca has reached an agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, to supply up to 400 million doses of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries starting by the end of 2020.
With the agreement, the IVA aims to accelerate the supply of the vaccine and to make it available to other European countries that wish to participate in the initiative. The IVA is committed to providing equitable access to all participating countries across Europe.
Support access to the vaccine at no profit
AstraZeneca continues to build a number of supply chains in parallel across the world, including for Europe, it states. The company is seeking to expand manufacturing capacity further and is open to collaborating with other companies in order to meet its commitment to support access to the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic.
“This agreement will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to Oxford University’s vaccine following approval. With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly. I would like to thank the governments of Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands for their commitment and swift response,” says Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca.
The start of a Phase II/III UK trial
The company has recently completed similar agreements with the UK, US, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for 700 million doses, and it agreed a license with the Serum Institute of India for the supply of an additional one billion doses, principally for low- and middle-income countries. Total manufacturing capacity currently stands at two billion doses.
Oxford University last month announced the start of a Phase II/III UK 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, it states.
Photo of manufacturing of pharmaceuticals at AstraZeneca in Södertälje, Sweden