China Vaccine Maker Inks Canada Deal to Develop Second Shot
(Bloomberg) -- Leading Chinese vaccine developer CanSino Biologics Inc. has inked a deal to test and sell a separate Canadian vaccine candidate as the race for immunization intensifies globally.
In addition to developing its own vaccine together with the Chinese military, CanSino will partner with Vancouver-based Precision NanoSystems Inc. to co-develop another potential vaccine, according to a joint press release Wednesday.
The Chinese company will conduct testing of Precision’s experimental vaccine and has the right to commercialize it in Asia excluding Japan, said the statement.
Widely viewed as one of the front-runners in the race to develop a successful vaccine, the new deal adds to CanSino’s chances of being among the first to deliver immunizing shots. Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to make any effective vaccine against the coronavirus that is developed by China accessible and affordable globally as a “public good.”
The Tianjin-based company was set up in 2009 by vaccine industry veterans who had previously worked for global pharmaceutical firms like Sanofi and AstraZeneca Plc. The company’s partnered with the Chinese military before, developing a shot against Ebola that was approved domestically in 2017, although it was not deployed internationally.
The vaccine that CanSino will co-develop with Precision Nanosystems harnesses an experimental approach also being used by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. Known as mRNA vaccines, they contain the virus’s genetic sequence to instruct cells to make antigens that elicit a response from the immune system.
Governments, research institutes and companies around the world have accelerated vaccine development that usually takes years into several months as pressure grows for scientists to find a way out of the pandemic. A vaccine is considered a crucial step toward lifting social-distancing measures and safely reopening economies, schools and events around the globe.
Despite growing tensions between China and some western countries who have faulted it for a delay in sharing information about the pandemic, Chinese vaccine developers have inked cooperation pacts with foreign companies.
Chinese drugmaker Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. announced in March a partnership with Germany’s BioNTech SE to help test its mRNA vaccine in China.
Besides the new partnership, CanSino has also already received approval to conduct human clinical trials in Canada for the vaccine it is co-developing with the Chinese military.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.