AstraZeneca in talks with Japan, Russia, Brazil and China on COVID-19 vaccine supplies, says CEO

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - AstraZeneca AZN.L is in talks with Japan, Russia, Brazil and China about supply deals for its potential coronavirus vaccine, its chief said on Saturday, as the British drugmaker prepares to publish the results of the first phase of tests.

The British regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the start of Phase III trials of the vaccine after studies showed sufficient efficacy and safety, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said on a call with reporters.

His comments came after the company pledged to deliver 400 million doses of its vaccine to European countries, its latest supply deal for the drug as governments around the world scramble to gain access to the drug to combat the pandemic.

The Netherlands, Italy and Germany will play a big role in manufacturing the drug in Europe, he said.

Soriot said the company expects to know by the end of the summer if the vaccine, which he said would cost a few dollars per dose, works.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Louise Heavens