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Emergent inks $174m deal with AstraZeneca to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine

Follows initial deal agreed in June

AZ

US-based CDMO Emergent BioSolutions has agreed a deal with AstraZeneca to expand manufacturing of the latter's potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The agreement covers contract development and manufacturing services for AstraZeneca’s adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, which is currently being developed at Oxford University.

According to Emergent, the deal is valued at approximately $174m and runs until 2021. It follows an earlier agreement for a $87m contract in June for development services, performance and process qualifications, raw materials and an initial capacity reservation for the vaccine. Overall, the partnership between Emergent and AZ could now reach $261m, with a further option to expand in the future.

In June, Emergent agreed a deal with the US government’s Operation Warp Speed programme for the rapid domestic production of the leading potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Under that deal, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) committed up to $628m to Emergent to accelerate the delivery of vaccines to American citizens.

Around $542.7m will go towards the production of COVID-19 vaccine candidates into 2021, while the further investment of $85.5m will be used to expand Emergent’s capacity at its Baltimore, Camden and Rockville facilities in the US.

Emergent has also agreed a similar manufacturing deal with Johnson and Johnson for its investigational COVID-19 vaccine, Ad26.COV2-S. Emergent will provide its services to make the vaccines on a large scale over five years, with the deal totalling an estimated $480m for the first two years.

AZ/Oxford’s vaccine recently demonstrated positive early results in a phase 1/2 trial. In that study, the vaccine induced a robust immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, in all participants.

The vaccine also proved safe to use, although side effects were common among participants, including mild-to-moderate headache and fever.

The immune response produced by AZD1222 included a four-fold increase in antibodies against the novel coronavirus spike protein in 95% of subjects, one month after the initial injection. A T-cell response was also induced in all participants, which was maintained for two months after the injection.

“As COVID-19 vaccine candidates progress through the pipeline, Emergent stands ready alongside leading innovators to rapidly deploy our CDMO services to help meet the substantial demand for a vaccine – anchored on our foundational expertise in development and manufacturing and propelled by our commitment to our mission – to protect and enhance life,” said Syed Husain, senior vice president and CDMO business unit head at Emergent.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

28th July 2020

From: Sales

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