Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products (300601.SZ) will produce AstraZeneca Plc’s (AZN.L) potential COVID-19 vaccine in mainland China, the British drugmaker said on Thursday, its first deal to supply one of the world’s most populous countries.
The deal underscores Astra’s frontrunner position in a global race to deliver an effective vaccine, given that Chinese ventures are leading at least eight of the 26 global vaccine development projects currently testing on humans.
Under the agreement Shenzhen Kangtai, one of China’s top vaccine makers, will ensure it has annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses of the experimental shot AZD1222, which AstraZeneca co-developed with researchers at Oxford University, by the end of this year, AstraZeneca said.
The Shenzhen-based company must have capacity to produce at least 200 million doses by the end of next year as part of the exclusive framework agreement, its statement on the Chinese social media site WeChat said.
The two companies will also explore the possibility of cooperation on the vaccine candidate in other markets, AstraZeneca said.
There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
AstraZeneca has signed manufacturing deals globally including the United States, Britain, South Korea and Brazil, resulting in a target to make more than 2 billion doses of the vaccine.
Times of India