UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) has revealed that it is hoping to make up to 30 million Covid-19 vaccine doses available by September for people in the UK, as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total.
“Our scientists are at the forefront of vaccine development. This deal with AstraZeneca means that if the Oxford University vaccine works, people in the UK will get the first access to it, helping to protect thousands of lives” commented Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
Oxford University has agreed a global licensing agreement with AstraZeneca for the commercialization and manufacturing of their potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine. Business Secretary Sharma also took the opportunity to announce that the project will benefit from £84 million of new government funding.
“The agreement will deliver 100 million doses in total, ensuring that in addition to supporting our own people, we are able to make the vaccines available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost” he said.
The vaccine in question, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, uses a viral vector based on a weakened version of the common cold (adenovirus) containing the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, which primes the immune system to attack COVID-19 if it later infects the body.
In April, the potential vaccine entered Phase I clinical trials to study safety and efficacy in healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years, across five trial centers in Southern England. Data from the Phase I trial could be available as soon as this month, and advancement to late-stage trials should take place by the middle of this year, says AstraZeneca.
AZN currently shows a Strong Buy Street consensus, with three recent buy ratings. The average analyst price target of $58 indicates upside potential of 8%, with shares currently trading up 7% on a year-to-date basis. (See AstraZeneca stock analysis on TipRanks)
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