AstraZeneca Seeks To Make 2 Billion Covid-19 Vaccine Doses With New Supply Deals

UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) announced on Thursday that it has signed supply deals for the capacity to produce 2 billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine should it prove to be successful.

The drugmaker said it has reached a $750 million agreement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi the vaccine alliance for the manufacturing and distribution of 300 million doses of the potential vaccine which it is developing with Oxford University, with delivery starting by the end of the year. In addition, AstraZeneca entered into a licensing agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to supply one billion doses for low and middle-income countries, with a commitment to provide 400 million before the end of 2020.

“We are working tirelessly to honour our commitment to ensure broad and equitable access to Oxford’s vaccine across the globe and at no profit,” said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot. “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.”

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

Oxford University has started 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, the drugmaker said.

“AstraZeneca recognises that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical programme with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk,” the company said.

Shares in AstraZeneca have jumped more than 40% since mid-March as the drugmaker joined the list of companies engaged in the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine. The drugmaker has reportedly been selected by the Trump administration as one of seven companies, to take part in a “Warp Speed” coronavirus vaccine program.

TipRanks data shows that two of the three analysts assigning a Buy rating on the stock have raised their price targets on the shares over the past month. Overall AstraZeneca scores a Strong Buy consensus from the analyst community with a $62.50 average price target which puts the upside potential at 16% in the coming 12 months. (See AstraZeneca stock analysis on TipRanks).

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