Aspen licensing deal secures supply of J&J vaccines to Africa

The vaccine, called Aspenovax, will be manufactured from drug substance supplied by Johnson & Johnson and sold to public sector markets in Africa.

2021-12-01 12:40:00 AM

The vaccine, called Aspenovax, will be manufactured from drug substance supplied by Johnson & Johnson and sold to public sector markets in Africa.

The vaccine, called Aspenovax, will be manufactured from drug substance supplied by Johnson & Johnson and sold to public sector markets in Africa.

Senior reporter30 November 2021 - 18:15Gqeberha-based Aspen Pharmacare has negotiated a deal to manufacture JNJ's Covid-19 vaccine and sell it under an Aspen brand name in Africa.Image:123rf/serturvetanAspen Pharmacare has signed a deal to license Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine in SA, opening the way for increased supply of vaccines to Africa.

Under the terms of the deal, Aspen and Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, two of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J, are close to finalising a “definitive agreement” for the Gqeberha-based pharmaceutical company to manufacture and sell an Aspen-branded Covid-19 vaccine throughout Africa, the company said on Tuesday. 

“This [deal] gives us security of supply which we did not have before,” said Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy for Covid and Africa Vaccine African Union Special Envoy for Covid and Africa Vaccine.“Today I am so pleased we can say production of this vaccine under licence, like they do in India, has begun.” headtopics.com

The vaccine, called Aspenovax, will be manufactured fromdrug substance supplied by J&J and sold to public sector markets in Africa.Noting that Africa’s response to the pandemic had been hampered by vaccine inequality as rich countries cornered much of the vaccine supply as it became available, Aspen group chief executive Dr Stephen Saad said the licensing deal was “a game-changer”.

“[It] gives you independence and speed of access to intellectual property,” he said, adding Aspen would gain the autonomy of releasing the vaccine and determining where it goes.It would also partly resolve intellectual property (IP) issues which have been widely seen as a stumbling block to making vaccines available to poorer countries.

“We’ve seen a lot of issues around IP and IP waivers and this obviates a lot of those hurdles relating to IP,” he said.“Because it’s a tech transfer, it’s a more efficient process for early entry.”Saad would not comment on pricing, except to say Aspen intended to be competitive.

The deal also paved the way for major vaccine buyers such as the Gavi Alliance,formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccinesand Immunisation, to buy vaccines from Africa, Masiyiwa said.

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