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U.S. gives AstraZeneca $1B for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

By
Don Jacobson
AstraZeneca plans at least 400 million doses and has lined up manufacturing capacity for one billion doses with first deliveries set for September. File Photo by Drago Prvulovic/EPA
AstraZeneca plans at least 400 million doses and has lined up manufacturing capacity for one billion doses with first deliveries set for September. File Photo by Drago Prvulovic/EPA

May 21 (UPI) -- European pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Thursday it has received more than $1 billion from the U.S. government to develop its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

The drugmaker has partnered with the University of Oxford on its "AZD1222" vaccine, one of several candidates worldwide in clinical trials.

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The funding came from the the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The British government has also supplied $79 million for the AstraZeneca/Oxford collaboration, which began trials last month to assess safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in more than 1,000 British volunteers.

The BARDA investment is targeted for the development, production and delivery of the vaccine, starting in the fall.

AstraZeneca plans at least 400 million doses and has lined up manufacturing capacity for one billion doses with first deliveries set for September, CEO Pascal Soriot said.

"We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their ground-breaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale," he said.

U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna said this week early results for its vaccine candidate are positive and indicate a "potential to prevent" COVID-19.

Pharma company Pfizer said this month it's begun testing a vaccine candidate on human subjects in the United States.

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