Biotechnology giant CSL (ASX: CSL) will manufacture more than 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for supply in Australia, slated for release in 2021.
The manufacture and supply agreements are contingent on the success of clinical trials at both the University of Queensland and Oxford University where the vaccines are being developed.
Once trials are complete, the deals will see 52 million doses of UQ's vaccine made by CSL for Australia, plus 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine.
First doses of the UQ vaccines are scheduled for release in mid-2021, while Oxford's would be ready in early 2021.
UQ is currently undertaking Phase 1 clinical studies on its vaccine to assess how safe it is in healthy human volunteers.
"The social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a high level of urgency to the task of developing a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and to manufacture a successful vaccine at high quality and in sufficient quantities," says CSL CEO and managing director Paul Perreault.
"CSL has been working at pace to respond to the pandemic and has invested significant resources in the rapid development and large-scale manufacture of UQ-CSL V451, along with a number of other therapeutic programs.
"Together with partners including the University of Queensland and 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."
Perreault says results from the pre-clinical and early clinical studies for UQ's vaccine are promising, but he notes it is impossible to predict the level of success the university will have in late stage trials.
"CSL's focus is to produce a safe and effective vaccine," says Perreault.
"It is important that on completion of clinical trials, the public has confidence in UQ-CSL V451, which makes use of the well-established recombinant protein technology platform, and Seqirus' proprietary adjuvant MF59, which has an extensively safety track record in humans."
Shares in CSL are up 0.30 per cent to $279.89 per share at 10:57am AEST.
Updated at 11.19am AEST on 7 September 2020.