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AstraZeneca strikes first COVID-19 vaccine deal with Chinese company

BEIJING/FRANKFURT: Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products will produce AstraZeneca potential COVID-19 vaccine in mainland China, the British drugmaker said on Thursday, its first deal to supply one of the world’s most populous countries.

The deal underscores Astra’s frontrunner position in a global race to deliver an effective vaccine, given that Chinese ventures are leading at least eight of the 26 global vaccine development projects currently testing on humans.

Under the agreement Shenzhen Kangtai, one of China’s top vaccine makers, will ensure it has annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses of the experimental shot AZD1222, which AstraZeneca co-developed with researchers at Oxford University, by the end of this year, AstraZeneca said.

The Shenzhen-based company must have capacity to produce at least 200 million doses by the end of next year as part of the exclusive framework agreement, its statement on the Chinese social media site WeChat said.

The two companies will also explore the possibility of cooperation on the vaccine candidate in other markets, AstraZeneca said.

They did not respond to requests for further comment.In 2019, the company, whose main products are vaccines for Hepatitis B, flu and measles and rubella, reported net profits of 574.5 million yuan ($82.68 million) on revenue of 1.94 billion.

 

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