AstraZeneca, Emergent BioSolutions sign $87M deal to produce U.S. supply of COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca made waves last week when it signed a massive $750 million deal to ramp production of a University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine up to 2 billion doses per year. Now, as part of a Trump administration effort to get shots into U.S. hands as soon as possible, AstraZeneca has agreed to another major manufacturing tie-up.

AstraZeneca and Emergent BioSolutions have inked an $87 million deal to manufacture doses of the University of Oxford's adenovirus-based COVID-19 shot for U.S. supply, the companies said Thursday.

The manufacturing accord is part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed initiative to develop and rapidly scale production of targeted vaccines before the end of 2020.

As part of the agreement, Emergent will reserve large-scale manufacturing capacity for Oxford's vaccine candidate, AZD1222, at its Baltimore Bayview facility through 2020. The company will also provide contract development manufacturing services to aid AstraZeneca's goal of producing more than 2 billion shots per year by 2021, Emergent said.

Alongside its earlier deal to help Johnson & Johnson produce its own vaccine candidate, Emergent has now secured its place as a primary manufacturing partner for two of the five shots targeted by the Trump administration as "finalists" for emergency use approval and widespread manufacturing by the end of 2020.

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Last week, Emergent signed a $628 million deal with the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to scale production of targeted COVID-19 vaccines to make "tens to hundreds of millions" of doses available through 2021, the CDMO said.

As part of the agreement, the government will shell out $542.7 million to reserve bulk manufacturing capacity at Emergent's Baltimore Bayview facility, which was constructed as part of a BARDA pandemic preparedness contract signed in 2012. The remaining $85.5 million will be spent expanding fill/finish capacity at two Emergent plants at Camden in Baltimore and Rockville, Maryland.

The massive order will allow Emergent to set aside the needed manufacturing space to mass-produce what could be two or three promising vaccine candidates identified by BARDA and HHS, Emergent CEO Robert Kramer said Monday.

Emergent will aim to help Warp Speed meet its stated manufacturing goals of 100 million doses within the year and up to 300 million doses by the end of 2021.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson sets stage for COVID-19 shot rollout with 'first in a series' manufacturing deal

Emergent's Bayview facility will now play host to both AstraZeneca and J&J after the New Jersey drugmaker agreed to a $135 million deal in April to tap Emergent for its COVID-19 shot manufacturing.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's newest manufacturing commitment comes just days after the British drugmaker put its name to a $750 million deal with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to manufacture and distribute 300 million doses of Oxford's vaccine by the end of 2020.

AZ also agreed to a licensing deal with the Serum Institute of India to provide 1 billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries, with the goal of 400 million produced by year-end. In total, the deals bring AstraZeneca's overall supply capacity for Oxford's vaccine to more than 2 billion doses per year, the drugmaker said.