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 today’s agreement, the IVA aims to accelerate the vaccine supply and 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.
AstraZeneca continues to build several supply chains in parallel across the world, including for Europe. The company is seeking to expand its manufacturing capacity further and is open to collaborating with other companies to meet its commitment to support access to the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer, said, “This agreement will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to Oxford University’s vaccine following approval. We hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly with our European supply chain due to begin production soon. I want to thank the governments of Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands for their commitment and swift response.”
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 the Phase II/III UK trial of AZD1222 in about 10,000 adult volunteers. Other late-stage trials are due to begin in several countries. AstraZeneca recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.
The company’s comprehensive pandemic response includes rapid mobilization of AstraZeneca’s global research efforts to discover novel coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies to prevent and treat the progression of the Covid-19 disease, to reach clinical trials in the next three to five months. Additionally, the company has quickly moved into the testing of new and existing medicines to treat the infection, including the CALAVI trials underway for Calquence (acalabrutinib) and the DARE-19 trial for Farxiga (dapagliflozin) in Covid-19 patients.