Last month, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which originally developed the vaccine, announced a major investment of $1.2bn (€1.1bn) from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support the manufacture of the vaccine candidate.
AZ has further expanded its capacity to produce the adenovirus vector-based vaccine through a partnership with Oxford Biomedica.
The cell and gene therapy company, as suggested by its name, is based in Oxford, and will provide part of its commercial manufacturing center, ‘Oxbox’, for the clinical and commercial manufacture of the AZD1222.
The Oxford facility covers 7,000-square-meters, from which ‘multiple batches’ of the vaccine will be produced, with the majority of this work being completed during 2020.
However, the commercial supply agreement has the option to be extended further “depending on the progression of the [vaccine] program,” Oxford Biomedica stated.
For Oxford Biomedica, the partnership represents an extension of the work it had already begun alongside the original team at Oxford University.
In April, the university had put together a ‘manufacturing alliance’ to ensure the capacity to take the vaccine candidate into early-stage trials, which also included Pall Biotech, Cobra Biologics, and other organizations.
The vaccine candidate quickly became one of the leading efforts to create a vaccine globally, which led to the extensive funding by BARDA and also to the UK government reserving 30 million doses for its population, as a priority before other nations.