EU and AstraZeneca reach first advance purchase agreement for a Covid-19 vaccine

BRUSSELS, 14 August (APM) - The European Commission today clinched its first agreement to purchase a Covid-19 vaccine, with an outline deal covering 300 million doses of AstraZeneca's experimental vaccine, with an option to purchase 100 million more.
This follows - but goes further than - the Commission's recent conclusion of exploratory talks with Sanofi/GSK and Janssen on similar potential deals.
The AstraZeneca deal provides an agreed contractual framework - a step that is still to be finalised with Sanofi/GSK and Janssen.
It provides for the purchase on behalf of EU member states, explicitly providing not only for member states to then acquire supplies, but also for donations to lower and middle income countries.

Phase III

AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate is already in large-scale Phase II/III clinical trials after promising results in Phase I/II concerning safety and immunogenicity.
The Commission says its decision to support the vaccine proposed by AstraZeneca "is based on a sound scientific approach and the technology used (a non-replicative recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus-based vaccine ChAdOx1), speed at delivery at scale, cost, risk sharing, liability and the production capacity able to supply the whole of the EU, among others".
Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides thanked AstraZeneca "for its constructive engagement on this important agreement for our citizens".
Discussions are still underway with other companies, according to a Commission statement announcing this latest deal.

Advance purchase

As with all these so-called advance purchase agreements, in which the EU offers guarantees against companies' development and manufacturing costs, the actual acquisition will take place only once the potential vaccine has proven to be safe and effective.
In return for the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in a given timeframe, the Commission finances part of the upfront costs faced by vaccines producers in the form of advance purchase agreements.
Funding provided is considered as a down-payment on the vaccines that will actually be purchased by member states.
The rationale for the Commission approach is since the high cost and high failure rate make investing in a Covid-19 vaccine a high-risk decision for vaccine developers, these agreement will allow investments to be made that otherwise would simply probably not happen.
AstraZeneca has existing deals to provide hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine around the world (APMHE 67746).



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