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UK agrees on COVID-19 vaccine deals with J&J and Novavax

Initial agreement secures 90 million doses

The UK government has reach two separate agreements with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Novavax for early access to their respective COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The deals include an initial 60 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine and 30 million doses of J&J's vaccine. J&J’s vaccine, Ad26.COV2.S, will be supplied on a not-for-drift basis during the emergency pandemic to the UK, while Novavax has not disclosed the agreed price for its candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

As part of the deal, the UK will co-fund a phase 3 clinical trial of J&J’s vaccine, which will evaluate a two-dose regimen of the shot. This study will run in parallel with another phase 3 trial investigating the single-dose regimen of Ad26.COV2.S.

The J&J agreement will also provide a further option for an additional purchase of up to 22 million vaccine doses for the UK.

Ad26.COV2.S recently demonstrated positive pre-clinical results in early animal studies, in which the vaccine candidate induced a robust immune response in non-human primates. None of the six animals that received a single immunisation with the vaccine showed any detectable virus in their lower respiratory tract after exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

J&J has already started a phase 1/2a human clinical trial of Ad26.COV2.S in the US and Belgium, which is evaluating both one- and two-dose regimens of the vaccine in over 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 and over.

Novavax will also conduct a phase 3 clinical trial of its vaccine candidate with support from the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and has partnered with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies to manufacture certain components of the vaccine in the UK.

NVX-CoV2373 has already produced promising phase 1 trial results, after inducing immune responses in participants treated at two doses levels, with and without an adjuvant.

The vaccine also produced high levels of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus after a single dose of the vaccine, with participants who had received two doses possessing higher levels of antibodies compared to recovered COVID-19 patients.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, if both vaccines prove effective in late-stage trials, they could be delivered to the UK in mid-2021.

The UK has now agreed early access deals for six potential COVID-19 vaccines, including AstraZeneca/Oxford University’s vaccine, and further agreements for candidates being developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Valneva and GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi.

“The government’s strategy to build a portfolio of promising vaccine candidates will ensure we have the best possible chance of finding one that works,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

“Today’s agreements will not only benefit people in the UK but will ensure fair and equitable access to a vaccine around the world, potentially protecting hundreds of millions of lives,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

14th August 2020

From: Sales

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