Gowling WLG advises AstraZeneca on landmark collaboration to develop, manufacture and distribute potential new COVID-19 vaccine

4 minute read
03 June 2020

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Gowling WLG's global Life Sciences team has advised long-standing client AstraZeneca on a landmark collaboration agreement for the development and distribution of the University of Oxford's potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Head of life sciences Patrick Duxbury and director Jenny Davies worked on the deal with AstraZeneca Assistant General Counsel, Corporate, Maryam Abdul-Kareem; finalising the terms of a deal first highlighted in the Prime Minister's COVID-19 briefing earlier this month.

The arrangement will enable the two organisations to globally develop, manufacture and distribute the University's potential new recombinant adenovirus vaccine (known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19). The vaccine, being developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, aims to prevent COVID-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will be responsible for development and worldwide manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine.

Patrick Duxbury said: "We are excited to have played a part in advancing the development of this potential COVID-19 vaccine. We have worked with AstraZeneca for a number of years and so have an excellent understanding of the company, the team and the key considerations to address in order to get this deal done.

"For obvious reasons the deal was completed in a very short time frame. Importantly, we worked closely with all parties concerned and drew on our international expertise in transactions like this to ensure the collaboration has the best foundation for, hopefully, ultimately bringing this vital vaccine to patients worldwide. It was a great team effort by everyone involved."

The potential vaccine entered Phase I clinical in April. This phase focuses on studying safety and efficacy in healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years, across five trial centres in the South of England. The resulting data from this phase is expected shortly which, if positive, would lead to late-stage trials in a number of countries.

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in the areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal & metabolism and respiratory & immunology. AstraZeneca operates in more than 100 countries and its medicines are used worldwide.

Bristows LLP advised the University of Oxford.

The collaboration between AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is the latest in a number of significant pieces of COVID-19 related advice provided by Gowling WLG. Last month, its commercial contracts specialists also provided legal advice on a consortium agreement for the manufacture of ventilators for the NHS. Ventilator Challenge UK, a consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK. This type of commercial expertise and other insights are brought together in the firm's COVID-19 resource hub for clients.

Gowling WLG's global Life Sciences team combines extensive sector expertise with full-service capability. Described as a "sterling commercial life sciences practice for complex licence, research and collaboration agreements" in Chambers UK 2020, the team is well-equipped to advise clients internationally. Clients range from global pharmaceutical companies and leading research and academic bodies, to small private companies and start-up businesses.

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