Aspen: Licencing rights to produce own COVID vaccine a huge boost for Africa

Aspen has finalised initial terms with Johnson & Johnson that would see the company produce coronavirus vaccines using a drug substance supplied by J&J in the near future.

FILE: Aspen logo. Picture: aspenpharmasa.co.za/

CAPE TOWN - Aspen Pharmacare said that licensing rights to produce a COVID-19 vaccine under its own label was a huge boost for the African continent.

It will be called Aspenovax and distributed to countries on the African continent.

Aspen has finalised initial terms with Johnson & Johnson that will see the company produce coronavirus vaccines using a drug substance supplied by J&J in the near future.

The company will now have control over the allocation and distribution of the COVID-19 jabs it produces, something previously decided by Johnson & Johnson.

"It's also a significant development in addressing the inequality, unevenness of vaccine distribution that has been attributable to the African continent. This will allow Africa to have its own vaccine now," said Aspen senior executive, Doctor Stavros Nicolaou.

Nicolaou said that the deal with J&J may also include any new versions of the drug substance, such as those developed for new variants or as a different formulation for booster shots.