Global biotech company CSL Limited will supply the Australian Government with 51 million doses of The University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate if it proves successful, under a heads of agreement announced today.
CSL expects the first tranche of doses to be available by mid-2021, with additional doses following in late 2021 and early 2022, if late stage clinical trials are successful.
The total number of vaccines ordered by the Government is based on a two dose per person regime.
CSL CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault said CSL had invested significant resources in the rapid development and large-scale manufacture of the vaccine candidate – UQ-CSL V451.
“Together with partners including UQ and the 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,” Mr Perreault said.
The University is currently undertaking a Phase 1 clinical study to assess safety and the immune response generated in healthy volunteers.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the announcement recognises the vaccine as one of the leading candidates currently in clinical trials.
“We are enormously proud of the contributions that UQ researchers have been making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and nowhere is this clearer than in the vaccine program,” Professor Terry said.
“UQ has a reputation for transitioning its innovations and discoveries to delivering solutions for the world’s challenges. Now more than ever Australians are aware of the importance of investment in research.”
“Federal and Queensland governments, philanthropists and donors, a multitude of research collaborations and particularly our remarkable partnership with CEPI and CSL have made our accelerated timeline possible
“And we are incredibly grateful to the Queenslanders who have stepped up for our Phase I trials, with an overwhelming response to last week’s call for volunteers aged 56 and over.”
Should the Phase 1 results prove successful, CSL will take full responsibility for subsequent clinical trials, with the required production underway at CSL’s biotech manufacturing facilities in Melbourne.
Mr Perreault said while pre-clinical and early clinical studies for UQ-CSL V451 were promising, it was impossible to predict the level of success the candidate will have in late stage clinical trials.
“CSL’s focus is to produce a safe and effective vaccine,” Mr Perreault said.
“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 extensive safety track record in humans.”