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AstraZeneca, University of Oxford and spinout collaborate to develop Covid-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca, the University of Oxford, and it’s T cell immunotherapy spinout company, Vaccitech, have agreed to partner to scale up production and distribution of a vaccine candidate that’s now entered clinical trials.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 candidate, an attenuated adenovirus vector complexed with the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, the protein responsible for the intracellular infection, was developed at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

Speaking of its efficacy, Vaccitech CEO, Bill Enright said: “We believe this vaccine candidate provides significant validation for our ChAdOx platform, which is one of the few to have already induced neutralizing antibodies against coronavirus spike proteins in human studies for MERS.”

The vaccine that has proven to be safe and well-tolerated in over 300 healthy volunteers, with some temporary side effects, will be extended to over 1000 participants from cities throughout the UK in the coming weeks. AstraZeneca hopes to have results from the phase I trial as early as next month, in hope that late-stage trials might be possible by the middle of the year.

Whilst the final terms of the partnership are still to be hammered out, we know that AstraZeneca will oversee global development, manufacturing and distribution of the candidate vaccine, should it prove successful in the forthcoming clinical trials. Vaccitech has joint rights to the platform technology behind the vaccine.

In the agreement, the pharma giant has agreed that they will operate on a not-for-profit basis throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with their only hope to re-coop production and distribution expenses. Similarly, the University and it’s spinout have committed to taking no royalties from a resulting vaccine during the course of the pandemic. Any royalties made after the pandemic ends, they pledge will be reinvested back into medical research.

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