UK biopharma AstraZeneca (AZN) has now received regulatory approval to hold part of a late-stage trial for its potential COVID-19 vaccine in Russia, according to a report from Reuters.
The Phase III trial of the AZD1222 vaccine will involve 150 people and will take place in four medical sites in St. Petersburg and Moscow, says Reuters, citing a filing in the Russian clinical trial registry.
In July, Russian firm R-Pharm signed a licensing deal with AstraZeneca to produce and distribute AZD1222, which AZN is developing together with Oxford University, to over 30 countries, including those in the Balkan region.
Countries around the world have in recent weeks been lining up to clinch supply deals for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine candidate, including the European Union, Argentina and Mexico.
Earlier this month, the Australian government announced that it has signed a letter of intent with AstraZeneca to secure a supply of the vaccine candidate. Australia says it will offer its citizens the investigational COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective.
AZD1222 is one of several vaccine candidates supported by Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the US government program to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines available for Americans by Jan. 2021.
AstraZeneca shares have advanced 12% this year as the drugmaker joined the list of companies engaged in the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine. Looking ahead, the $81.84 average analyst price target puts the upside potential at a promising 47% in the coming 12 months.
Overall, the stock scores a Strong Buy consensus from the analyst community based on 3 back-to-back buy ratings. (See AstraZeneca stock analysis on TipRanks)
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