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Oxford Biomedica snags manufacturing equipment to ramp up production of COVID-19 vaccine

Oxford Biomedica and AstraZeneca reached a deal in late May to produce "multiple batches" of the university's vaccine. (Getty)

In the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, the University of Oxford has stormed to an early lead with the commercial manufacturing support of British drugmaker AstraZeneca. Now, in an effort to scale up capacity for global demand, one of AstraZeneca's manufacturing partners has struck a deal for new equipment.

Oxford Biomedica has inked a five-year deal with the U.K.'s Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) to build out the CDMO's Oxbox facility to help produce doses of the university's adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of their deal, VMIC will supply manufacturing equipment for two suites at Oxford Biomedica's 84,000-square-foot Oxbox facility in Oxford, U.K., the CDMO said. The suites will be dedicated to producing Oxford's vaccine, AZD1222, but can also be used to manufacture other viral vector vaccines.

AstraZeneca and the university agreed to tie up in April, with the drugmaker taking on commercialization and large-scale manufacturing of the school's vaccine, which was developed by Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

Late last month, Oxford and British drugmaker AstraZeneca agreed to a one-year deal covering "multiple batches" of the university's vaccine as part of a consortium aimed at speeding production of the shot.

As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca received access to the OxBox facility with the goal of supplying clinical and commercial doses through 2020 with the possibility of expansion in the future.

AstraZeneca and the university agreed to tie up in April, with the drugmaker taking on commercialization and large-scale manufacturing of the school's vaccine, which was developed by Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

As Oxford Biomedica aims to ramp up its own manufacturing, AstraZeneca recently secured a massive tie-up to bring billions of doses of AZD1222 on the market in the coming years.

Last week, the British pharma inked 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, the drugmaker said Thursday.

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's 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.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct an error.

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