Everest to bring Canada’s Providence Therapeutics’ COVID-19 vaccine to China

Click to play video: 'Canadian vaccine maker hopes Alberta agrees to purchase future shots'
Canadian vaccine maker hopes Alberta agrees to purchase future shots
Brad Sorenson, the CEO of Providence Therapeutics, joins the Global Calgary News Hour at 6 to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine manufacture’s recent agreement with the Manitoba government and how hopeful he is that Alberta follows suit – Feb 12, 2021

Shanghai-based Everest Medicines said it signed a licence agreement with Providence Therapeutics to make and sell the Canadian biotechnology company’s potential mRNA COVID vaccines in some Asian countries including China.

Interim data from an early-stage human trial outside China has showed Providence’s shot PTX-COVID19-B was safe and produced strong antibody responses, Everest said in a statement on Monday.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines prompt the body to make a protein that is part of the virus, triggering an immune response. Companies including Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna use mRNA technology in their COVID-19 shots.

China is yet to approve an mRNA COVID shot. It has fully vaccinated nearly 70 per cent of its 1.4 billion population as of Sept. 6, using shots mainly from Sinopharm and Sinovac.

At least four potential mRNA COVID shots are already being tested in China, including three domestically developed candidates and one from BioNTech and its local partner Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Groups.

Story continues below advertisement

Providence will be paid $50 million in cash upfront for PTX-COVID19-B and other COVID mRNA vaccine candidates targeting specific variants that haven’t yet entered clinical trials. It will also receive up to $100 million in profit-sharing initially, and more in royalties later.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

Everest expects to complete building a factory by the end of this year in eastern Zhejiang province to make the vaccine, with an annual capacity to produce “a couple of hundred millions” doses, Everest Chief Executive Kerry Blanchard told Reuters.

The timeline for setting up production lines depended on when the two companies complete the technology transfer, he said.

India’s Biological E. announced in June a licencing deal with Providence to manufacture its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in the South Asian nation.

Click to play video: 'How a made-in-Canada vaccine could bring hope for vaccine shortages'
How a made-in-Canada vaccine could bring hope for vaccine shortages

Apart from China, Everest has obtained rights for Providence’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates for more than 10 countries including Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, where vaccination rates are low, and Singapore.

Story continues below advertisement

The two companies will also collaborate on two other preventive or therapeutic products, likely in infectious disease areas, and Everest will also use Providence’s mRNA platform to develop more treatments.

For these additional collaborations Providence will get $50 million upfront in cash and up to $300 million in future milestone payments in newly issued Everest stock.

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Sponsored content