AstraZeneca Gets $1B From U.S. Government for Coronavirus Vaccine

AstraZeneca receives more than $1 billion from the U.S. government to help produce an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford.
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British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report has received more than $1 billion from the U.S. government to boost the manufacturing of an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the University of Oxford.

The Cambridge, U.K.-based company said it received the funding from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the development, production, and delivery of the vaccine, which is being developed by Oxford and the U.K. government.

The development program, which will kick off in the fall, includes a phase 3 clinical trial with 30,000 participants and a pediatric trial. The company’s first round of agreements include at least 400 million doses; it has also secured a total manufacturing capacity for 1 billion doses.

AstraZeneca at the end of April announced that it was teaming up with the University of Oxford to develop a coronavirus vaccine, where AstraZeneca will be responsible for worldwide manufacturing and distribution of what is currently known as ChAdOx1 nCov-19.

The race for a vaccine has been accelerating, particularly after the number of global coronavirus infections has continued to rise as lockdowns worldwide are lifted. The number of confirmed global cases has surpassed 5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus, though it has announced numerous emergency-use authorizations to a host of companies looking to proceed with trials of both new and existing drugs and vaccines.

Boston-based Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report has emerged as one of the front-runners in the race to create a viable coronavirus vaccine as its FDA fast-track-approved trials have shown positive results, though the data have more recently been questioned by scientists.

Other companies including Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Report, BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report and Altimmune  (ALT) - Get Report - have also been working on a coronavirus vaccine, while Gilead Sciences'  (GILD) - Get Report existing drug remdesivir has shown to be effective as a treatment in patients already afflicted with Covid-19.