The funding announcement follows a global licensing agreement between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, the UK-based pharmaceutical company, for the commercialisation and manufacturing of their potential vaccine.
This means that, if the Oxford vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will deliver 100 million doses in total worldwide.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said: ‘The University of Oxford is immensely proud of the scientists at the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group who have worked tirelessly to discover and develop this vaccine in record time. We now have a partner in AstraZeneca who are ideally positioned to help us evaluate the vaccine, manufacture it and distribute it to UK citizens as well as to the rest of the world. They share our commitment to true global access to end this pandemic.’
Dr. Alexander Douglas, the leader of the research group at Oxford which has developed the manufacturing method, said: 'We have been preparing for large-scale manufacturing of our vaccine candidate since February. This funding enables manufacturing to start immediately, and so will make vaccine available as soon as possible, while adhering to the most stringent safety standards. The methods developed here in the UK will also enable the production of vaccine for other countries.'
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: 'Our scientists are at the forefront of vaccine development. This deal with AstraZeneca means that if the Oxford University vaccine works, people in the UK will get the first access to it, helping to protect thousands of lives.
'The agreement will deliver 100 million doses in total, ensuring that in addition to supporting our own people, we are able to make the vaccines available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost.
'The UK continues to lead the global response to find a vaccine, and the government is backing our scientists to do this as quickly as possible.'
Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said: ‘AstraZeneca is at the forefront of the response to COVID-19, and we are proud to be working with Oxford University to help make this vaccine available as quickly as possible. I would like to thank HM Government for its commitment to the vaccine and welcome its leadership and generosity for its help in expanding access beyond the UK. Our company is working hard to establish parallel supply agreements with other nations and multilateral organisations to ensure fair and equitable access around the world.’