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AstraZeneca secures orders for COVID-19 vaccine

Business Finance

AP  |  London 

Drug maker AstraZeneca secured its first agreement on Thursday for 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, bolstered by an investment from the US vaccine agency.

The Anglo-Swedish company reported it had received more than USD 1 billion from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting this fall.

The investment will accelerate the development and production of the vaccine, AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said. It had already joined forces with the British government.

"We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available," he said.

Pharmaceutical companies including also Moderna and Sanofi are racing to develop and produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus as experts say it will be crucial to allowing countries to ease their lockdowns and restrictions on public life.

In a statement as markets opened, AstraZeneca said it has now secured manufacturing capacity for 1 billion doses and aims to secure further agreements to expand capacity further over the next months "to ensure the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine".

The company also finalized its licence agreement with Oxford University for the vaccine, now known as AZD1222.

The vaccine was developed by Oxford University's Jenner Institute, working with the Oxford Vaccine Group.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 16:03 IST