Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca may be known for its Nexium commercials in the U.S., but the company has tackled all kinds of medical concerns over the course of its lifetime including breast cancer and respiratory diseases.
Now, AstraZeneca is moving forward with its own coronavirus vaccine. The company, which partnered with The University of Oxford in this endeavor, has gotten its COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.K. government. The company won't profit from the vaccine, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Is AstraZeneca an American company?
Although AstraZeneca says that it's one of the first pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., it formed from the merger of two companies from other countries. Astra AB was founded in 1913 in Sweden, according to the history timeline on the company's Swiss website.
In 1993, Zeneca Group PLC was founded and in 1999, the two companies merged to form AstraZeneca in a deal worth $35 billion. The all-stock merger was the largest in Europe at the time.
How did AstraZeneca start?
Before the merger, Zeneca Group PLC was part of a larger company called Imperial Chemical Industries PLC (ICI), according to Britannica. Zeneca was split off into its own company and focused on drugs, specialty chemicals, and pesticides in 1993.
Astra AB was a pharmaceutical company founded in 1913 by a group of 400 doctors and apothecaries, according to Encyclopedia.com. The company had its own research and development facilities by the 1930s. The company came to the U.S. in 1953.
AstraZeneca's headquarters are in the U.K.
AstraZeneca has locations all over the world, but its corporate headquarters are located in Cambridge in the U.K. In the U.S., the company is based in Willington, Del. However, the company also has locations in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boston.
How AstraZeneca manufactures vaccines
As of December 2020, the U.K. authorized AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. According to The New York Times, the vaccine named AZD1222 was created at the University of Oxford. The vaccine only had a 62 percent efficacy in clinical trials after participants were given two full-strength doses.
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine results aren't great compared to other coronavirus vaccines already on the market with 95 percent efficacy. However, AstraZeneca and Oxford's vaccine also has a price point of less than $5, which is much lower than the other options.
According to AstraZeneca, in order to keep up with the speed needed to produce the coronavirus vaccine, it's moving as fast as it can with new regional supply chains given specified regulations.
"To produce billions of doses of a potential vaccine for markets around the world, we have built more than a dozen regional supply chains to provide rapid access to as many countries as possible, as quickly as possible following regulatory approval, while reducing transportation and any potential export or importation constraints," the company said on its global website.
Despite working with Oxford on the COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca has "little vaccine experience," according to The Wall Street Journal.