(Reuters) – AstraZeneca has partnered with British cell therapy company Oxford Biomedica to make its experimental COVID-19 vaccine as the drugmaker looks to bolster its manufacturing capacity to produce one billion doses.
The vaccine, AZD1222, was developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca.
Oxford Biomedica, which was spun off from the university in 1995, on Thursday signed a one-year deal with AstraZeneca to provide multiple batches of the vaccine, which is currently being tested on humans.
The majority of the vaccine would be produced throughout 2020, but Oxford Biomedica declined to provide details on the number of doses it would actually make.
The deal comes a week after the United States secured almost a third of the first 1 billion doses planned for the vaccine, which has now moved to larger trials in the global race to crack a solution to the coronavirus crisis.
The experimental shot will also be produced by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, and AstraZeneca is in talks with several governments and global partners to boost its production.
Last month, Oxford Biomedica said it joined a consortium, including the Jenner Institute, for possible large-scale manufacturing of AZD1222.
Oxford Biomedica’s shares closed 6.6% higher at 764 pence.
Separately, GSK, the world’s largest vaccine maker, laid out plans to produce 1 billion doses of vaccine efficacy boosters for COVID-19 shots next year.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Shailesh Kuber)