South African drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare on Tuesday concluded an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to package, sell and distribute the American group’s Covid-19 vaccines under its own brand in Africa.
In November Aspen entered into talks with J&J for a licensing deal that would give it freedom to sell and distribute the vaccine under its own brand.
The agreement also allows Aspen to “discuss the expansion of the agreement to include any new versions of the drug substance, such as those developed for new variants or a different formulation for administration as a booster”, Aspen said in a statement.
J&J had contracted Aspen to package the Covid-19 vaccine drug substance into final doses, a process called fill and finish, and supply it back to J&J. This, however, gave Aspen no rights over who gets the vaccine and where it goes.
In a separate statement, J&J said the agreement means that Aspen can now supply the Covid-19 vaccine under the Aspenovax brand to all 55 African countries and multilateral entities supporting Africa’s vaccination plan.