By Roxanne Liu and Tony Munroe
BEIJING, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products will produce the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc’s in mainland China, the British drug maker said Thursday in its first agreement to supply one of the countries. most populated in the world.
To meet market demand in China, Shenzhen Kangtai will ensure that it has an annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses of the experimental vaccine AZD1222, which AstraZeneca has developed in conjunction with researchers from the University of Oxford, by the end of this year, AstraZeneca said.
Shenzhen Kangtai must have the capacity to produce at least 200 million doses by the end of next year as part of the exclusivity agreement, the company said on the Chinese social network WeChat.
The two companies will also explore the possibility of cooperation on the potential vaccine in other markets, AstraZeneca said.
There are no approved vaccines yet for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that AstraZeneca’s is a leading candidate.
The British company has signed manufacturing agreements worldwide to meet its goal of manufacturing 2 billion doses of the vaccine.
Both companies did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
(Information from the Hong Kong newsroom newsroom; written by Josephine Mason; edited by Kevin Liffey and Jan Harvey, translated by Michael Susin at the Gdansk newsroom)