South Africa’s Aspen has made progress on its path to vaccine sovereignty after landing a “game-changer” COVID-19 vaccine licensing deal with Johnson & Johnson.
What the deal means
The deal will allow Aspen to manufacture and distribute the J&J COVID shot in Africa. According to a J&J press release, the goal of this deal is to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates across the continent.
J&J will provide the South African manufacturer drug substances to produce finished, Aspen-branded vaccines for the African public sector.
These shots will be available to all 55 African Union member states, plus multilateral organizations supporting Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, such as the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust and the COVAX Facility.
The company has already begun packaging J&J’s vaccine at its factory in South Africa and plans to market the single-dose shot in Africa under the moniker Aspenovax, Stavros Nicolaou, Ph.D., group senior executive of strategic trade at Aspen Pharma Group, told Fierce Pharma in December.
At the time, Nicolaou described the forthcoming licensing deal as “monumental” on two counts, according to Fierce Pharma: