AstraZeneca plans to ship Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in September

AstraZeneca plans to ship its first deliveries of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in September after it received more than $1bn (£820m) from a US government agency to boost development of the medicine. 

The drugs maker said it had reached agreements for at least 400 million doses and has secured total manufacturing capacity for one billion doses so far. It hopes to supply the vaccine to the UK from September. 

Astra has received financial support of more than $1bn from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (Barda) for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine.

The development programme includes a phase three clinical trial with 30,000 participants, as well as a paediatric trial, it said. 

Pascal Soriot, Astra’s chief executive officer, said: “This pandemic is a global tragedy and it is a challenge for all of humanity. We need to defeat the virus together or it will continue to inflict huge personal suffering and leave long-lasting economic and social scars in every country around the world.

“We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their ground-breaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale. 

“We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available.”

A phase one and two trial of the vaccine began in April to assess its safety, efficacy and whether it could provoke an immune response to coronavirus.

The trial involved 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years across several trial centres in southern England. Astra said data from the trial was “expected shortly”. 

The FTSE 100 company does not expect the vaccine programme to have a significant impact on its financial guidance for 2020, as expenses to progress the vaccine are anticipated to be offset by government funding. 

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