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CSL share price lower despite COVID-19 vaccine news

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The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price is having another off day on Friday despite the release of a potentially positive announcement.

In afternoon trade the biotherapeutics company’s shares are down 3% to $285.04. This means the CSL share price is now down 17% from its 52-week high.

What did CSL announce?

This morning CSL revealed that it has entered into a new, significant partnering agreement to accelerate the development, manufacture, and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The agreement has been made with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the University of Queensland. It formalises the support provided by the company to the two parties since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year.

CEPI and CSL will fund the development and manufacture of the University of Queensland’s “molecular clamp” enabled vaccine. This is a transformative technology patented by the university’s technology transfer company.  It enables rapid vaccine design and production against outbreak viral pathogens.

According to the release, the university is aiming to take the vaccine candidate into a phase 1 clinical trial in July. Should its clinical trials be successful, a vaccine could be available for distribution in 2021.

While acknowledging that there is still a lot of work to be done, CSL believes its production technology can be scaled to produce up to one hundred million doses towards the end of 2021.

It would also subcontract other global manufacturers. This would increase the number of doses that can be produced and broaden the geographical distribution of vaccine production.

That is of course if other companies such as Moderna don’t get there first with the vaccines they have in clinical trials at present.

A “promising vaccine.”

Professor Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented: “We are very pleased to be able to provide our scientific expertise and platform technologies to make a strong contribution to this critical joint effort with CEPI, the University of Queensland and others.”

“CSL will contribute to UQ’s promising vaccine with our proprietary adjuvant, MF59, made by Seqirus, along with expertise in process science and scale-up from our Australian facilities, managing advanced clinical trials and the large-scale manufacture of the recombinant vaccine,” he added.

The Chief Scientific Officer concluded: “Should trials be successful, this vaccine holds the potential to provide protection against this urgent public health emergency for Australians and those around the world vulnerable to this devastating virus.”

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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