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Within AstraZeneca’s agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands will accelerate the supply of the vaccine. AZN stock is up in the pre-market today.
Biotech companies continue to progress in the development of the coronavirus vaccine. On Saturday, a piece of positive news came from AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE: AZN), a British pharmaceutical company that is participating in the COVID-19 vaccine race in collaboration with Oxford University. AstraZeneca said it would supply up to 400 million vaccine doses to European nations.
AstraZeneca signed a contract with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA). This group was formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands in order to accelerate the supply of the vaccine. The deliveries will start by the end of this year, and IVA “will work together with the European Commission and other countries in Europe to ensure everybody across Europe is supplied with the vaccine.”
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said:
“This will ensure that hundreds of millions of people in Europe will have access to this vaccine, of course, if it works and we will know that by the end of summer.”
He further added:
“With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly. I would like to thank the governments of Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands for their commitment and swift response.”
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said:
“Many countries in the world have already secured vaccines, Europe has not yet. The rapid coordinated action of a group of member states will create added value for all EU citizens in this crisis.”
Earlier, AstraZeneca signed similar agreements for 700 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine with the UK, the US, Norway-headquartered Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the international vaccine alliance Gavi. According to Pascal Soriot, China, Brazil, Japan, and Russia have also shown interest in the initiative.
AstraZeneca’s Progress in COVID-19 Vaccine Development
AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s vaccine candidate is AZD1222 —a viral vector-based weakened version of adenovirus containing the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The testing of the candidate began in the UK in April with over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55. Another testing round began in May and involved 10,000 volunteers. Backed by Boris Johnson‘s UK government, the vaccine received a $1.2 billion support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within the U.S. program called “Operation Warp Speed”.
AstraZeneca is set to produce 2 billion doses. This amount includes 400 million doses for the U.S. and the United Kingdom and 1 billion doses for developing countries. The company is also looking for expanding the manufacturing of the vaccine.
AstraZeneca (AZN) Stock Up in Pre-market
On Friday, AstraZeneca (AZN) stock ended at $51.47, or 0.19% down. After hours, it lost another 0.60%. In the pre-market today, AstraZeneca shares are 0.68% up, at $51.90. AstraZeneca’s market cap is $137.752 billion.
On May 13, it reached the all-time highest closing price of $55.31. Year-to-date, AstraZeneca stock is over 3% up. Analysts predict that it has 20% further upside potential.