Looking to secure enough doses of a COVID-19 vaccine frontrunner for its residents, the Australian government signed an expansive supply deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca last month. The Aussies then tapped local drugmaker CSL to chip in on production—and the initial order will tally up to the tens of millions of jabs.
CSL and its Seqirus vaccine unit will produce a combined 81 million doses of two COVID-19 vaccine candidates—one from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and one from the University of Queensland—to the Australian government beginning in early 2021, the Melbourne-based company said Friday.
Starting early next year, CSL will churn out 30 million doses of AstraZeneca and Oxford's adenovirus-based shot, dubbed AZD1222, the company said. The Australian drugmaker will handle local manufacturing through a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca.
CSL will then aim to produce 51 million doses of the University of Queensland's vaccine candidate, V451, which is currently in phase 1 human trials.
CSL will also receive additional funding from the Australian government to specifically boost its local manufacturing capabilities for AZD1222. The funding arrangement will outfit CSL's production facilities with the proper equipment and the workforce to produce the shot, the drugmaker said.
The financial terms of both agreements and the Australian government grant were not disclosed. A CSL spokeswoman could not be reached for comment by press time.