AstraZeneca Can Make Up To 1B Covid-19 Vaccine Doses, Signs First Supply Pacts

UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) on Thursday disclosed that it has the capacity to produce 1 billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine should it prove to be successful. The stock rose 3.5% to $55.65 in pre-market U.S. trading.

The drugmaker said it has signed first agreements for at least 400 million doses and has secured total manufacturing capacity for one billion doses of the potential vaccine, which it is developing with Oxford University. Start of deliveries are planned for September 2020, the company said in a statement.

AstraZeneca is also working on entering into additional agreements supported by several parallel supply chains, which is aimed at expanding capacity further over the next months to ensure the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine, the company said.

All of this though will be dependent on getting data results from the vaccine candidate’s Phase I/II clinical trial, which the drugmaker expects shortly and if positive, would lead to late-stage trials in a number of countries.

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

Moreover, AstraZeneca announced that it has received more than $1 billion from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting in the fall. The development programme includes a Phase III clinical trial with 30,000 participants and a paediatric trial.

The drugmaker informed investors that Thursday’s announcement is not expected to have any significant impact on its financial guidance for 2020.

“Expenses to progress the vaccine are anticipated to be offset by funding by governments,” the company said.

Shares in AstraZeneca have ballooned 42% in the past two months as the drugmaker joined the list of companies engaged in the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

TipRanks data shows that Wall Street analysts have a bullish outlook on the stock boasting only Buy ratings. Following the recent share rally, the $57.50 average price target puts the upside potential at 6.9% in the coming 12 months. (See AstraZeneca stock analysis on TipRanks).

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