CSL today announced that its subsidiary, Seqirus, signed an agreement with the government for the supply of 51 million doses of the University of Queensland-CSL COVID-19 vaccine candidate (V451), should clinical trials be successful.
The Agreement includes an up-front financial commitment from the Government to support the clinical and technical development activities that CSL will need to assume in order to progress V451, and, if clinical trials are successful, also secures access to onshore production and supply of the vaccine for Australia. The first participants in the phase 2b/3 trials of the product would be enrolled in December if progress went as expected.
The news comes following comments this week from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, that economic forecasts have been constructed on the assumption of a successful vaccine being rolled out by next year.
In September, CSL announced a separate agreement in with the Australian Government and AstraZeneca to produce approximately 30 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine candidate, AZD1222. The two vaccines work through different approaches, but can leverage many facets of the same manufacturing platform technology used by CSL.
CSL shares closed 2.4 per cent higher to $298.94 on Thursday. The company's shares are ahead 8.6 per cent year-to-date.
For investors, it is important to note that vaccine production and COVID-19 treatment plans for companies like CSL are extremely complex, and may not result in significant profit margins. Particularly in light of humanitarian considerations.