CSL to manufacture and supply two COVID-19 vaccine candidates for Australia

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The Australian Government has signed an agreement with CSL under which the global biotech company will supply 51 million doses of the University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, should it prove successful.

CSL expects to release the first tranche of doses by mid-2021, with additional doses to be made available in late 2021 and early 2022, if late stage clinical trials are successful.

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CSL CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault said the company had invested ‘significant resources’ in the rapid development and large-scale manufacture of the vaccine candidate UQ-CSL V451, along with a number of other therapeutic programs.

“Together with partners including UQ and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), our development and manufacturing teams have been working extremely hard to advance this program to ensure the availability of a safe and effective vaccine should clinical studies prove successful,” Mr Perreault said.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the University is currently undertaking a Phase 1 clinical study to assess safety and the immune response generated in healthy volunteers.

“Federal and Queensland governments, philanthropists and donors, a multitude of research collaborations and particularly our remarkable partnership with CEPI and CSL have made our accelerated timeline possible,” Ms Terry said.

“And we are incredibly grateful to the Queenslanders who have stepped up for our Phase I trials, with an overwhelming response to last week’s call for volunteers aged 56 and over.”

CSL has also inked a separate agreement with AstraZeneca for the expected manufacture of approximately 30 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine candidate AZD1222, for supply to Australia.

CSL, which expects to supply the first doses to Australia in early 2021, said it would manufacture the AZD1222 vaccine candidate from its Australian facilities with funding support from the Federal Government.

“Acknowledging that CSL is the only company in Australia with manufacturing facilities capable of producing this vaccine, we thank the Australian Government for their support, ensuring Australia has access to onshore COVID-19 vaccine production and supply,” Mr Perreault said.

“Our facilities will require modifications in order to fulfil the compliance requirements for working with vector-based vaccines, as well as the addition of skilled personnel and further capital investment.

AstraZeneca has established a separate commercial arrangement with the Australian Government to supply the AZD1222 vaccine to Australia once it successfully completes clinical trials.

Image credit: https://www.uq.edu.au/
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