(Reuters) – AstraZeneca has signed an agreement with Halix B.V. for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the British drugmaker and the University of Oxford, the Netherlands-based biopharmaceutical firm said on Tuesday.
As part of the agreement, Halix will manufacture the vaccine, called AZD1222, at a facility in the Netherlands. It did not provide any further details related to the contract.
Around 3 billion doses of the vaccine could be available globally next year, the director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, Adrian Hill, said last month, as the world races to contain the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines.
However, interim data released by AstraZeneca on Nov. 23 from trials in Britain and Brazil showed a vastly divergent performance when the vaccine was tested in two different dose combinations, raising calls for more clarity on its effectiveness.
On Tuesday, Britain began mass inoculation of its population against the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, after it became the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine last week. The country could approve AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the next two weeks.
Halix said, with the latest agreement, it continues to be one of the original partners in the University of Oxford’s consortium, which also includes Oxford Biomedica and the Jenner Institute, for manufacturing the AstraZeneca vaccine.
AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for more details.
(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)