OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Canadian government has reached two new preliminary deals to secure millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines being developed by Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.
The two new agreements also come after Canada signed similar deals with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna in early August.
“Taken together, our vaccine agreements with Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson will give Canada at least 88 million doses, with options to obtain tens of millions more,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Pfizer and Moderna have already begun Phase 3 clinical trials.
Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau announces two new #COVID19 vaccine deals. One with Novavax and another with Johnson & Johnson. Trudeau says this will give the gov’ the ability to order more than 80-million doses when a vaccine is developed, and options for more #Cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/J1YSEYo72N
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) August 31, 2020
The tentative agreement with Novovax will see up to 76 million doses of that company’s vaccine be procured by Canada, the biotech firm says in a release. The company says the two sides are expected to “finalize an advance purchase agreement” that will see Novavax start supplying doses of its vaccine candidate to Canada “beginning as early as the second quarter of 2021.”
The vaccine is currently being tested and is one of dozens around the globe in varying stages of human trials.
#Breaking Novavax Inc. of Maryland announces contract with the Gov't of Canada to provide up to 76 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine aiming for Q2 2021. Novavax vaccine is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials. Subject to Health Canada approvals.
— mike eppel (@eppman) August 31, 2020
“In preclinical trials, NVX-CoV2373 demonstrated indication of antibodies that block binding of spike protein to receptors targeted by the virus, a critical aspect for effective vaccine protection,” Novavax says of its candidate. “In its Phase 1 data of the Phase 1/2 clinical trial, NVX-CoV2373 was generally well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera.”
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The company’s candidate began Phase 2 testing in August.
“We are moving forward with clinical development of NVX-CoV2373 with a strong sense of urgency in our quest to deliver a vaccine to protect the world,” Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, says in a release.
Millions of dollars to expand production in Canada
Trudeau has said the vaccines all show promising results.
“In the weeks and months ahead, our government will continue to take the steps needed to make sure Canada gets a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible,” the prime minister said. “Once a vaccine is proven to work, we’ll also need to be able to produce and distribute it here at home.”
In order to ensure Canada is prepared for manufacturing, Trudeau announced a more than $126 million investment to expand the biomanufacturing facility at the National Research Council in Montreal.
“This funding will increase this facility’s ability to manufacture vaccines and will strengthen the NRC’s partnerships with vaccine developers,” Trudeau explained.
The facility is expected to be “up and running” by mid-2021, Trudeau added.
-With files from The Canadian Press