AstraZeneca’s major investments build on Vietnam promise

November 12, 2021 | 07:00
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AstraZeneca has reached two landmark agreements with Vietnamese partners to enhance the local biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry and pandemic response in the country, showing its strong long-term investment commitments.
The new agreements will see AstraZeneca pump millions of dollars into Vietnam’s healthcare sector
The new agreements will see AstraZeneca pump millions of dollars into Vietnam’s healthcare sector

AstraZeneca will invest $90 million to develop Vietnam’s domestic manufacturing capabilities and expand patient access to high-quality and locally-made medicines. This investment will be made between 2022 and 2030 and will enable production of three AstraZeneca medicines in Vietnam.

AstraZeneca has also signed an agreement with Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC) for the delivery of an additional 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, as well as 20,000 doses of a long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination candidate for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, upon receiving emergency use approval from the Ministry of Health. The LAAB is designed for people with weakened immune systems who may not respond adequately to vaccination.

The agreements were signed on November 2 in the presence of Vietnam’s high-level delegation, led by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh during his visit to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate conference.

PM Chinh said, “AstraZeneca’s various programmes have contributed significantly to ensuring security, public health safety, and socioeconomic development in Vietnam. The investment commitment announced by AstraZeneca as well as its supply agreement will be a solid foundation upon which further partnerships can be built to enhance healthcare for Vietnamese people. We hope that AstraZeneca will continue to accompany the Vietnamese government in our big fight against this taxing pandemic.”

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot added, “By establishing a local AstraZeneca manufacturing presence in Vietnam for the first time, patients will be able to access treatments to meet important medical needs. Through our new supply agreements, people will continue to receive critical access to our COVID-19 vaccine and our first long-acting antibody.”

The new investment complements AstraZeneca’s ongoing $220 million funding into Vietnam for the 2020-2024 period, which was announced during former PM

Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to its manufacturing site in Sweden in 2019.

Under the Ministry of Health’s guidance, AstraZeneca will appoint a Vietnamese contract manufacturing partner and then transfer the necessary technology and knowledge to support their ability to manufacture its medicines for non-communicable diseases, ensuring high-quality products in line with AstraZeneca’s global standards.

Nitin Kapoor, chairman and general director of AstraZeneca Vietnam and Asia Area Frontier Markets, emphasised, “Vietnam will be the first Southeast Asian country where AstraZeneca will manufacture key medicines for the treatment of non-communicable diseases. We are proud of this milestone, as a feature in our 27 years of active collaboration with the Vietnamese government, in addition to new agreements signed for the 2022 provision of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment.”

This new vaccine and LAAB supply agreement top-up AstraZeneca and VNVC’s existing contract to supply to Vietnam 30 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. So far, nearly 22 million doses from this deal have been delivered to the country.

The new agreement for 2022 supply allows VNVC and the Vietnamese government to switch to the vaccine candidate AZD2816, if approved by Vietnamese regulators. AZD2816 is AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate currently undergoing trials, with the aim of broadening individuals’ immune response against variants of concern.

VNVC has also purchased AZD7442 – an investigational combination of two LAABs that have been designed to provide up to 12 months of COVID-19 protection. If granted regulatory approval in Vietnam, it will be the first LAAB to receive authorisation for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.

Having accompanied Vietnam’s health sector since 1994, AstraZeneca is championing public-private partnerships with the Vietnamese government and healthcare organisations to promote research and development, enhanced access to healthcare, and sustainability. The company has been awarded the minister of health’s Certificate of Merit twice, for outstanding contributions to advancing cancer treatment in 2019, and to Vietnam’s fight against the pandemic last year.

By Tung Anh

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