UPDATE 1-Aspen from S. Africa signs agreement paving the way for J&J COVID vaccine license

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JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – South African company Aspen Pharmacare on Tuesday signed non-binding terms with subsidiaries of US company Johnson & Johnson in talks on a license agreement to package and sell the COVID vaccine- 19 of J&J in Africa, he said in a statement.

Aspen shares rose nearly 6% after the announcement.

Aspen is currently packaging J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine at its South African contract factory, which means it has no pricing or distribution power over the product.

The non-binding agreement, if it were to turn into a definitive agreement with J&J, would make Aspen the first African company to have a right to the distribution, price and brand of the vaccine.

The likely deal would not represent a transfer of technology to allow Aspen to manufacture its own drug substance, but it would set a precedent by giving an African company the right to distribute and market the vaccine on the continent.

Africa is the least vaccinated part of the world and many of its leaders have called for vaccine equity and accused Western countries of hoarding vaccines.

Aspen said it has signed a non-binding terms sheet with two of J&J’s Janssen pharmaceutical companies that will form the basis for negotiating a definitive agreement to manufacture and sell an Aspen-branded COVID-19 vaccine across the country. ‘Africa.

The deal would allow Aspen to manufacture finished COVID-19 vaccines and sell them under the Aspen brand to African countries “through transactions with designated multilateral organizations and with national governments of African Union member states.” , did he declare.

Aspen reportedly sells the vaccine under the brand name Aspenovax, the statement added. (Report by Promit Mukherjee, edited by Estelle Shirbon)

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