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Coronavirus: Chinese firm obtains right to develop Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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Chinese firm Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding said on Wednesday it had obtained the non-exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, import or commercialize Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

The Sputnik V vaccine is 92 percent effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said earlier, as Moscow rushed to keep pace with Western drug makers in the race for a vaccine.

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The Russian vaccine candidate still needs regulatory approval for clinical trials and to complete pre-clinical studies in China, the Shanghai-listed firm said in a filing.

Chinese firms have partnered with foreign drug makers to develop in China front-running vaccines in late-stage global trials. Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group is seeking regulatory approval to trial a product from Pfizer and BioNTech, and Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products aims to begin human tests for AstraZeneca’s candidate this year.

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Tibet Rhodiola said it will bear the costs of clinical trials for the Russian vaccine. Early and mid-stage trials are expected to take place in China and late-stage test overseas.

It plans to establish manufacturing capacity for the vaccine at its unit and other related firms, although the construction has not started yet, the filing said.

China has moved five home-grown vaccine candidates into Phase 3 clinical trials outside the country.

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