Four European nations to pay $843 million for AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

Italian Finance Guard’s officers wearing protective masks stand outside of Villa Pamphili park.

Anadolu Agency

Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and France have agreed to pay an initial 750 million euros ($843.2 million) for 300 million doses of AstraZeneca‘s potential vaccine against Covid-19, according to Reuters which cited the Italian health ministry.

The countries will have the option to buy a further 100 million doses of the vaccine, according to the news agency. Italy itself will pay 185 million euros for 75 million doses of the vaccine, which is being developed by Oxford University. 

When asked for further comment on the deal, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical company told CNBC that “AstraZeneca is not disclosing any financial information in relation to that agreement.”

The news comes two days after AstraZeneca announced on Saturday it had agreed with the four countries to supply up to 400 million doses of the vaccine, with deliveries set to start by the end of 2020. The pharmaceutical giant said it was building a number of supply chains in parallel across the world and is seeking to expand manufacturing capacity further.

AstraZeneca has recently completed similar agreements with the U.K. and U.S. and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and vaccine alliance Gavi for 700 million doses.  It added on Saturday that it had agreed a license with the Serum Institute of India for the supply of an additional 1 billion doses, principally for low and middle-income countries. Total manufacturing capacity currently stands at 2 billion doses, the company said.

The company has said it is open to collaborating with other companies “in order to meet its commitment to support access to the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic” and anticipates that the cost of manufacturing the vaccine will be offset by funding from governments.

The vaccine is undergoing phase 2/3 clinical trials with around 10,000 adult volunteers taking part in the late-stage U.K. trial. In its statement Saturday, AstraZeneca said it “recognises that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical programme with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.”

It was announced elsewhere Monday that AstraZeneca had agreed a deal with Catalent to provide vial filling and packaging capacity at its manufacturing facility in Anagni, Italy, and to “prepare for large-scale commercial supply” of the vaccine.

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