Vaccine manufacturer Oxford Biomedica doubles sales forecasts as AstraZeneca ups orders

·3 min read
UK prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit at the quality control laboratory of Oxford Biomedica, where batches of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are tested, in Oxford, England. Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley/Pool via Reuters
UK prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit at the quality control laboratory of Oxford Biomedica, where batches of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are tested, in Oxford, England. Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley/Pool via Reuters

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) has ordered more coronavirus vaccines from Oxford Biomedica (OXB.L) as a result of which the jab-maker is doubling its sales forecast. Shares in Oxford Biomedica rose roughly 5% on Tuesday morning.

“Following successful manufacture of large-scale batches of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine, AstraZeneca has today committed to an increase in the number of batches required from Oxford Biomedica in the second half of 2021,” the company said.

“As a result of this, the group is raising revenue guidance for expected cumulative revenues from AstraZeneca by the end of 2021 from in excess of £50m [$70.9m] to in excess of £100m,” it added.

Oxford BioMedica's stock was higher on Tuesday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Oxford BioMedica's stock was higher on Tuesday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

It also said it now expects significant growth in group operating EBITDA in the year ending 2021.

Oxford Biomedica had announced an 18-month supply agreement in September 2020 under a three-year deal with AstraZeneca for large-scale commercial manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca's new orders come even as it faces scrutiny over the vaccine's possible links to instances of rare blood clots.

Most recently, it was India that said it had identified 26 suspected cases of bleeding and clotting among the many millions of recipients of the vaccine, although the country’s health ministry said the risk was “minuscule”.

The European Union has taken legal action against AstraZeneca, alleging the pharmaceuticals giant has failed to fulfil promises made in its contract to supply COVID-19 vaccines.

Read more: GSK recovers ground as it reports more positive COVID vaccine trial data

Earlier this month it was announced that most adults under the age of 40 would be given an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK. 

Watch: Biden pledges to send 80 million vaccine doses globally 

The country's medicines safety regulator said that out of the 28.5 million doses of the vaccine administered, there had been 242 clotting cases and 49 deaths, with the risk being slightly higher in younger age groups.

Prof Wei Shen Lim, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said: "As COVID-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18 to 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, if available, and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine."

More than 36 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Adults over 50 who have had a first dose of Pfizer (PFE) or AstraZeneca can participate in the Com-Cov study, which is looking at the use of different combinations of approved COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second doses.

Their second dose could be the same as the first, or they could end up with Moderna (MRNA) or Novavax (NVAX).

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