CSL seals deal to supply 51 million doses of UQ COVID-19 vaccine candidate

CSL seals deal to supply 51 million doses of UQ COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Biotechnology giant CSL (ASX: CSL) has finalised an agreement with the Commonwealth Government to supply 51 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to Australia.

Signed by CSL's subsidiary Seqirus, the agreement would see the vaccines supplied should the University of Queensland's (UQ) clinical trials of the candidate be successful.

The agreement includes an up-front financial commitment from the Federal Government to support the clinical and technical development activities that CSL will need to assume in order to progress the candidate called V451.

According to CSL the large-scale clinical study for V451 is "almost ready", with recruitment of subjects expected to be completed by March 2021.

The study will be randomised, observer-blinded, and placebo-controlled across numerous countries and more than 100 sites. It will evaluate efficacy, immunogenicity and safety in adults aged 18 years and above.

"We are committed to demonstrating the vaccine is safe and effective prior to availability in the market," says CSL.

"Discussions have already commenced with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure this goal is met, while also making the vaccine available to the Australian population in the shortest possible time."

The company says it is working in parallel to engage partner organisations to assist with production of further doses with the goal of providing broader access to the vaccine, should trials be successful.

In September CSL announced it would manufacture more than 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for supply in Australia, slated for release in 2021.

This includes the 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine, plus 30 million doses of a vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The candidate being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca was put on pause in early-September after a participant fell ill.

The suspension, described as a "routine action", was put in place to give the company time to investigate the cause of the illness in the participant.

Shares in CSL are up 0.88 per cent to $294.94 per share at 10.15am AEDT.

Updated at 10.59am AEDT on 8 October 2020.

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