- AstraZeneca halts late-stage trial for its candidate COVID-19 vaccine.
- The drugmaker says adverse reactions can occur by chance in large trials.
- Nine EU & the U.S. based companies pledge commitment to safety standards.
In an announcement on late Tuesday, AstraZeneca plc (LON: AZN) said that late-stage trial for its candidate COVID-19 vaccine had been paused after a study participant met with an unexplained severe adverse reaction. AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine was among the top candidates of a potential cure for the novel flu-like virus.
Spokeswoman Michele Meixell of AstraZeneca commented in an emailed statement on Tuesday:
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“Our standard review process was triggered, and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee.”
Adverse reactions can occur by chance in large trials
AstraZeneca collaborated with researchers at the University of Oxford to develop its experimental vaccine, that was being tested in several countries, including the UK.
The British pharmaceutical company refrained from giving further details on the nature of the adverse reaction but expressed confidence that the participant will recover. The company said that adverse reactions are likely to occur by chance in trials as big as the one for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
Nonetheless, the company added, an independent review to thoroughly investigate the principal cause of the adverse reaction is standard procedure. The U.S. NIH (National Institutes of Health) refused to comment any further on the new at this stage.
Following the incident, nine of the top European and the U.S. based vaccine makers pledged commitment to scientific safety and efficacy standards on Tuesday. The companies acknowledged that a COVID-19 vaccine was needed urgently, but vowed that meeting these standards will remain a priority while testing their candidate vaccines.
Companies that signed the undertaking include AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck & Co, Moderna, GSK, J&J, Sanofi, Novavax, and BioNTech.
AstraZeneca’s performance in the stock market
AstraZeneca published its quarterly financial results in the last week of July that reported its net profit in the second quarter to have jumped to £581.18 million.
Shares of the company were reported a little under 2% down in premarket trading on Wednesday. On market open, however, the stock regained about 1.5% to hit an intraday high of £83.25 per share. Looking forward to investing in the stock market online? Here’s a simple guide to get you started.
On a year to date basis, AstraZeneca is now roughly 8% up in the stock market. In comparison, it had slid to £62.21 per share in March when the impact of COVID-19 was at its peak.
At the time of writing, the Cambridge headquarter pharmaceutical company is valued at £108 billion and has a price to earnings ratio of 65.33.