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CSL (ASX:CSL) share price higher after starting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price pushed higher on Monday after commencing the manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine…
The post CSL (ASX:CSL) share price higher after starting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing appeared first on Motley Fool Australia. –

Doctor holding small world globe in one hand and a Covid vaccine needle in the other

The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price was a positive performer on Monday and pushed higher with the market.

The biotherapeutics company’s shares ended the day 1% higher at $304.92.

Why did the CSL share price push higher?

As well as getting a boost from improving investor sentiment, CSL’s shares were given a lift by the release of an announcement relating to its COVID-19 vaccine activities.

According to the release, this morning CSL commenced the manufacturing of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca AZD1222 COVID-19 vaccine candidate at its advanced manufacturing facility in Broadmeadows, Victoria.

This is before the vaccine candidate has even completed its trials or been approved for use.

The company has separate contracts with both AstraZeneca and the Australian Government to manufacture approximately 30 million doses of the AZD1222 vaccine candidate. The first doses are planned for release in the first half of 2021, pending the outcome of clinical trials and regulatory approval.

What now?

According to the release, the manufacturing process will start with the thaw of vials containing vaccine cells. The cells, which were frozen under liquid nitrogen to preserve their integrity, need to be thawed in preparation for replication in the bioreactors at the company’s Broadmeadows facility.

After growing in the bioreactors, the vaccine is then filtered and purified leaving just the antigen, or vaccine product. It is then ready for final formulation and filling into dosage vials.

During 2020/2021, CSL will manufacture eight large scale batches of vaccine drug substance. Should the vaccine demonstrate its safety and efficacy in clinical trials that are currently underway, it is anticipated that it will require a two dose per person regime.

The company notes that the Australian Government has provided support in order to augment its capacity and capability to manufacture the AZD1222 vaccine.

This support has enabled the acquisition of specialised equipment and production inputs, the recruitment, training and redeployment of dozens of additional production personnel, and the reconfiguration of air handling and some structural modification to the manufacturing facilities.

Pleasingly, despite the commencement of these activities, it has been able to maintain commitments to manufacture the company’s vital core biotherapies.

CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Andrew Nash, commented: “This is an important milestone and marks the end of many months of around the clock preparation by our skilled personnel globally within CSL Behring, Seqirus and research and development. Both campaigns are still technically challenging but at this time we are tracking well and expect to produce the AZD1222 and the UQ-CSL V451 vaccine for Australia by mid-2021.”

“There’s still a long way to go and our first priority resolutely remains the safety and efficacy of the vaccines we produce. We are undertaking these manufacturing activities at-risk and in parallel with the clinical trials and approvals processes in recognition of the significant urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he concluded.

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The post CSL (ASX:CSL) share price higher after starting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

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