July 27, 2020 / 10:53 AM / 16 days ago

Emergent signs $174 million deal to make AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with "Vaccine" stickers stand near a medical syringe in front of displayed "Coronavirus COVID-19" words in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

(Reuters) - Emergent BioSolutions Inc said on Monday it signed a $174 million agreement with AstraZeneca to develop and manufacture the British drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

AstraZeneca in June picked Emergent to help produce 300 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine pledged to the United States.

AstraZeneca has signed manufacturing deals globally to meet its target of making 2 billion doses of the vaccine, including with two Bill Gates-backed ventures and a $1.2 billion agreement with the U.S. government.

The company’s vaccine, which has been co-developed by University of Oxford, is among the first to move into mid-stage trials. There are no approved vaccines or treatments for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The latest contract follows an $87 million contract in June where Emergent signed an agreement to become the development partner for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Activities under the agreement will be at Emergent’s Baltimore Bayview facility, the company said, which is a designated center by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for rapid manufacturing of large quantities of vaccines and treatments.

Reporting by Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Shounak Dasgupta

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