CanSino Biologics has agreed with the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca to provide “contract development and manufacturing services” to support the mRNA vaccine program. The Chinese company said in a statement on Tuesday, August 8.
In a filing to Shanghai’s stock exchange, CanSino said it would manufacture and supply unspecified mRNA products to AstraZeneca. It did not disclose the value of the deal.
AstraZeneca has not yet commented on the announcement.
In China, which has relied on locally produced COVID-19 vaccines, rather than allowing mRNA products from foreign manufacturers to be imported, mRNA vaccines are still not in widespread use.
CanSino has been working on its own mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The company said in February it was in discussion with Chinese regulators.
AstraZeneca is China’s largest drug company and is strengthening its position on the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market amid falling sales of its COVID vaccine.
The deal comes only a month after China’s Commerce Minister, Wang Wentao, told foreign pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca, that they can expect “more development opportunities”.