England, year 2016
It was in a lab at Oxford University that scientists Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill first developed ChAdOx—laying the foundation for AstraZeneca’s COVID shot. This vaccine used the same spike protein principle that we see today, but it was concocted several years ago and not within this last year as most people think. In 2016, Doctors Gilbert and Hill founded Vaccitech around this vaccine, receiving funding from Oxford Sciences Innovation to assemble an Intellectual Property portfolio for this technology and further develop it. In 2018, with the help of Google Ventures, The Wellcome Trust, GeneMatrix, Sequoia Capital China and more, Vaccitech raised over £26 million, giving it a valuation of $86 million.
In 2017, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was formed with Bill Gates at its helm. The mission was to “stimulate and accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable access to these vaccines.” It was initially founded through The governments of Norway and India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum.
In 2018, this epidemic coalition CEPI invested $14.6 million in the further development of ChAdOx1 MERS, a variation of the original ChAdOx technology and made in response to a coronavirus in Saudi Arabia years earlier. In 2019, Gates held Event 201, a training seminar considering a global pandemic and how to respond to it.
In late 2019, China reported a new coronavirus, one which escaped a lab in Wuhan, China and spread rapidly to all parts of the world, declaring it a pandemic. And by January 2020, Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill began creating a new vaccine based on their previous research with ChAdOx. The scientists originally expressed openness with their vaccine, planning to release it to public domain. It was not long until Bill Gates stepped in and urged Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill to reconsider. He persuaded the scientists to partner with a Big Pharma firm. Despite the GlaxoSmithKline firm having made headway on a COVID vaccine already, the scientists signed with AstraZeneca, a company which had no vaccine candidate but held ties with the scientists. In April of 2020, AstraZeneca announced that it had entered into “an exclusive licensing agreement with the University of Oxford.” This meant that AstraZeneca had the exclusive patent over this vaccine.
It is not known if AstraZeneca contributed its own Intellectual Property in their most recent COVID shot in conjunction with the founders’ original formula. Instead of ChAdOx, it is now classified as AZD1222.
$1.2 billion for 300 million doses in the United States
€330 million for 300 million doses in the European Union
£65.5 million for 100 million doses in the United Kingdom
In China, 300 million doses for an undisclosed sum
In Japan, 120 million doses for an undisclosed sum
$360 million for 100 million doses in Brazil
*These are some of the figures AstraZeneca has procured for their COVID-19 vaccine.*