This morning.

AstraZeneca has pulled out from a meeting with the European Union scheduled for today to discuss Covid-19 vaccine supplies, an EU official said.

The Commission is demanding more information about the company’s projected 60 percent cut to the EU’s deliveries in the first quarter of 2021.

Via RTÉ:

The official added that the EU keeps asking the company to provide further explanations about its announcement to cut vaccine deliveries to the EU in the first quarter

The European Union has also asked the pharma giant to publish the contract it signed with the bloc on Covid-19 vaccine supplies after the company’s chief executive revealed confidential clauses.

Hmm.

Meanwhile…

Yesterday.

*cough*

EU says AstraZeneca pulled out of meeting over vaccine contract (RTÉ)

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30 thoughts on “Vial Behaviour

    1. baz

      your Trotsky tactics wont hold up – EU contract w A/Z has more holes than a colander

      The pols and their noise are trying to smokescreen for the EU failed bloat.

      Reply
  1. baz

    EU have the worst negotiators and our Irish political pygmies outsourced vaccine negotiating to the EU

    Ireland needs to understand that the EU does not represent Ireland’s best interests

    EU negotiators failed to have a timeline in their contract, now they want to bully A/Z in the public domain

    Fair play A/Z – let the EU publicly embarrass their own pathetic contractual skills

    Reply
  2. Mike

    There’s usually a story that the media can’t report in full…even though its well known in certain circles.
    Any ideas what might be going on here? Did someone bribe? Did they mis-lead from the beginning? Will we hear that the head of the company will get a peerage in 2022?
    Could someone who really knows please spill the tea but just dress it up as a possible scenario for adequate botty-coverage. Much obliged :-)

    Reply
  3. alickdouglas

    Bribery can never be completely dismissed, but the anti-corruption/anti-bribery paperwork in pharma is mountainous, makes the regulation of the financial industry look a bit pathetic. I appreciate that that doesn’t mean there were no dirty deals, but I think the likelihood is remote.

    On the flip side, Astra are a new player in the vaccines market, and have almost no experience in the infectious diseases business. I suspect the AZ legal and contracting team is out of their depth, and that their ethics team aren’t practiced in this sort of dealmaking. Compare for example with Pfizer: they really only have one licensed vaccine worth talking about until now, Prevnar, but it’s used everywhere from USA to GAVI markets. Contract, supply and putting on ethics face is meat and potatoes to the team at Pfizer. To get this kind of thing right, you not only years of experience but you want your commercial, science and legal teams in good communication with each other. AZ onboarded a ton of new staff at the beginning of the year; they have bums on seats, but it’s unlikely that they have good interaction, particularly with everyone working from home.

    Reply
    1. baz

      eh, Alick! nice attempt at gaslighting the readers here. The negotiating deficiencies lie with the EU and the contract the EU signed. do keep up.

      Reply
      1. millie bobby brownie

        Ah I see you’re talking out of your anal cavity again baz! Try using your mouth next time. Do keep up!

        Reply
      2. V aka Frilly Keane

        rather than see it as an act of Gas Lighting

        here’s something else you could read into that
        (btw I agree with Alick, that sort of technical sales contract stuff, especially in Pharma is not learned overnight.)
        But here’s what its also telling me

        That this is the sort of post Brexit trade agreement, like outcomes and fallouts, misunderstandings over contractual commitments, between the respective sides, might well happen again, and again, between UK authorities and companies, and the EU etc, and others

        Also, looks very much to me anyway, that lads in London raced to Oxford University, roped those pesky scientists and academical diehards to do their Patriotic duty,
        Backtrack, lie back
        and get in bed with Big Pharma & the Best of British

        Bill & Melinda huh? There’s going to be a lot more to come out about that intervention, that’s for sure

        It definatly makes me want to wonder again why Leo was fanboy tweeting messages about Pfizer and their Vax – from even before it got approved in the US

        Reply
    2. Mike

      I agree – I work in Finance for one of the “Big Pharmas” and can confirm the massive focus on anti-corruption/anti-bribery. In a way I am reassured if the root cause is indeed one of competance at AZ.
      I was concerned that France had a viable candidate and were initially insisting the EU focus some purchasing power there only for it to not pass its trials, leaving the EU playing catch-up for volumes from other sources.
      Alternatively, I was concerned that pressure was applied to hold the vaccine “at home” in the UK until the political pressure was off Boris – and that if there was to be any disappointment regarding volumes, that it would be felt in Europe and not the UK.
      Hopefully both scenarios are wrong and its just old incompetance.

      Reply
      1. alickdouglas

        “Also, looks very much to me anyway, that lads in London raced to Oxford University, roped those pesky scientists and academical diehards to do their Patriotic duty,Backtrack, lie back and get in bed with Big Pharma & the Best of British”

        “Alternatively, I was concerned that pressure was applied to hold the vaccine “at home” in the UK until the political pressure was off Boris – and that if there was to be any disappointment regarding volumes, that it would be felt in Europe and not the UK”

        Vanessa and Mike both on the money I fear.

        Reply
  4. bisted

    …Astro Zenica haven’t pulled out of their meeting…anyway…isn’t their vaccine the ‘not for profit one’ developed by the Syrian refugee fella…

    Reply
    1. f_lawless

      Oxford University was going to make its vaccine open source but then the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation stepped in and convinced them to sell exclusive rights to AstraZeneca

      https://khn.org/news/rather-than-give-away-its-covid-vaccine-oxford-makes-a-deal-with-drugmaker/

      “Oxford University surprised and pleased advocates of overhauling the vaccine business in April by promising to donate the rights to its promising coronavirus vaccine to any drugmaker. The idea was to provide medicines preventing or treating COVID-19 at a low cost or free of charge, the British university said.

      ..A few weeks later, Oxford—urged on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—reversed course. It signed an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices—with the less-publicized potential for Oxford to eventually make millions from the deal and win plenty of prestige.”

      Reply
      1. V aka Frilly Jeane

        sounds like one of those much celebrated Brexit International Trade deals a certain lad around here had the horn for

        In fairness though, snipe aside
        Anyone who thought Oxford University was really going to give that away for nothing … c’mere, I have a great recipe for Covid Blocker Cookies that burn fat, and lift wrinkles

        Lemme get you my Patreon account details

        Reply
      2. Cian

        It is more subtle than that. It wasn’t open source.

        Oxford said that they would “offer non-exclusive, royalty-free licences to support free of charge, at-cost or cost + limited margin supply as appropriate, and only for the duration of the pandemic, as defined by the WHO”. (my emphasis) .

        The Gates foundation basically said – no company will take your vaccine IP under those conditions – so it will go to waste; you should team up with a company willing to invest in rolling it out (and yes, they can make money out of it) to help as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

        Oh, and the way it is worded sounds like Gates was pushing for them to deal with AstraZeneca. My reading of it is that they were company agnostic.

        https://innovation.ox.ac.uk/technologies-available/technology-licensing/expedited-access-covid-19-related-ip/

        Reply
        1. alickdouglas

          Totally agree with Cian on this.

          The article is interesting, but I think it misrepresents the message that BMGF almost certainly delivered, which I don’t believe was ‘keep this secret to make money’ rather ‘if you don’t go with one of the big boys, you’ll never get scale up and register’.

          Scale up and distribution is an abysmally difficult process: quite frankly, it’s more challenging than the clinical trials part. Astra have a global distribution network, and enough regulatory staff to handle the registration and licensing issues that Oxford cannot. They do not however have the scale up expertise. You wonder why Novasep Belgium is making the vaccine? It’s cos they are not discovery pioneers, they are scale up experts. Nice job by Astra throwing them under the bus. Ideally Oxford should have partnered with a developer who had more vaccine experience, but all of those had candidates that were more promising. Astra, with no vaccine division was happy to take the offer.

          And incidentally, as I think I said on here before, you can have access to all the IP in the world, but without the technical know-how and skill you will never make a vaccine. Oxford’s promises to make it accessible to all by not protecting IP is whatever-the-global-health-version-of-greenwash is.

          Reply
          1. Cian

            One small point about the Oxford promise – this was more than vaccines, it covered “vaccines, rapid diagnostics, ventilators, therapeutics and remote monitoring technology”.

            I remember seeing posts in Q2 last year of people using 3-D printers to create/modify ventilators; JCB were fabricating housings, etc [not necessarily Oxford designs – but there was a lot of collaborations and “forget money – lets just solve this problem” going on]. I would think that some of what Oxford was saying they would do was actually feasible.

          2. benblack

            @alick

            “Scale up and distribution is an abysmally difficult process: quite frankly, it’s more challenging than the clinical trials part.”

            In the middle of a pandemic? With every government and industry resource available, willing and eager?

            No, I strongly disagree with that misrepresentation.

          3. benblack

            “You wonder why Novasep Belgium is making the vaccine? It’s cos they are not discovery pioneers, they are scale up experts.”

            And no other ‘scale up experts’ exist and in 10 months could not have started up?

          4. benblack

            Nope, he’s referring to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, V.

            Surely?

            “Nice job by Astra throwing them under the bus.”

            Would seem to confirm that, V.

            Let’s give him a chance to respond.

          5. alickdouglas

            @Vanessa

            Astra are not entirely transparent about who does their manufacturing. I understand that the first doses were made by a CDMO on the science campus near Vaccitech in Oxford, but they don’t have nearly the capacity to fulfill all the orders they’ve apparently received. I’ve read that they ultimately want to produce at the VMIC on the same campus, but that’s still under construction. Novasep were signed on in June or something. It’s unlikely that even if their scale-up was successful that they would already have vaccine coming out of that plant so quickly. Serum Inst. India are also meant to be manufacturing, but I thought that was being released under the SII label for India, and so wouldn’t be part of Astra’s commitment. I suspect that Astra’s current doses are all coming out of the Oxford CDMO, I cannot remember who it is.

            Another global CDMO, Lonza is producing for Moderna in Switzerland and or Italy. Pfizer has their own manufacturing plant in Belgium, also encountering issues, but I think more about the amount of space they can use to make vaccine rather than scale up. J&J have a decent manufacturing footprint, but are nevertheless out-sourcing to another CDMO Emergent Bio. I think I read that they also are doing some manufacturing themselves.

            “AstraZeneca representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification on Monday. The manufacturing issue is at a plant in Belgium operated by AstraZeneca partner Novasep, Reuters reports. ”

            https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/astrazeneca-s-surprise-covid-19-vaccine-shortfall-prompts-europe-to-press-for-answers

          6. V aka Frilly Keane

            Ta for that Alick

            You’re now talking about stuff I understand

            I’ve had a mosey around the different manufacturing ‘options’ myself
            The logistics, hardwear, raw materials, facilities, workforce and working capital available to mass produce product, and get it out the door

            Here’s where I’m after landing
            I reckon if the Johnson Baby crowd get their one shot jab approved by the FDA in the coming weeks, it will get the full 24/7 roll out, as EU approval will surely follow.

            I’ve never worked in that industry myself, not even as a temp project /cost accountant, but I’d be confident that crowd are well got, with serious ‘tonnage’ capacity, world wide production facilities, logistics etc. All Just-in-Timed to precision. Like a Japanese car manufacturer.
            I also reckon they’re big enough players to secure third party production facilities without any humming n’ hawing, or working capitol juggling

            I’m also reading that it’s less fragile and high maintenance than Pfizers product to ship, store and dispense.

            So here’s my head on block time. If the Johnson’s Baby starts to roll off the conveyor belts – then it’s a game changer. Millions of doses will flood into the supply banks, if not hourly, then Daily

            All going good I’d expect to see Vax appointments / your turn on the list, speed up, maybe even by Autumn. One for anyone that wants one.
            Definitely anyone that’s going to pay for one

            BTW folks. That AstraZenaca thing with the EU ….no matter what it ends up as actually being. It’s still Not a good look for future trade deals between UK trade industry/ business etc and the EU, and anywhere else

            But shur’
            That’s someone else’s worry

          7. Mike

            “And no other ‘scale up experts’ exist and in 10 months could not have started up?”
            We started conversion of a pharma facility into a Biotech facility in 2018.
            Construction took 2 years, and there will 9 month of trials.
            Our site will hopefully be validated by the FDA etc in 2023 so we can finally sell our product.
            Tablets and creams (Oral solid dose and topicals) are much safer to produce because your body has natural defences for the stuff we eat and the stuff that touches our skin. Injecting something into the vein by-passing all natural defences.
            The standard of water needed (WFI Water for Injection), the super clean air needed, the endless cleaning needed when involved in Sterile Manufacturing – turning to an existing proven factory that already produces vaccines is the only show in town. Starting from scratch is simply a non-starter. Hence the Bill Gates comment directing the researchers to big pharma. Its the only way to not incur millions of deaths.

            The drug we intend to make onsite was given to a Contract Manufacturer, they are the only ones producing it as they had a working site with spare capacity. They were 5 years ahead of us and boy are we paying for it :-)

  5. GiggidyGoo

    ‘The European Union has also asked the pharma giant to publish the contract it signed with the bloc on Covid-19 vaccine supplies after the company’s chief executive revealed confidential clauses.’

    Well, if he revealed confidential details, then the contract may be void. Why are they asking for AZ do publish the contract – have they not got their own copy? (Or am I mis-reading that?)

    Reply

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