Chinese vaccine maker's coronavirus program with Canada ends


Recasts with NRC statement

Aug 26 (Reuters) - Canada's National Research Council (NRC) said on Wednesday that it has ended its partnership for a coronavirus vaccine with CanSino Biologics 6185.HK, saying the Chinese company lacks the authority to ship the vaccine at this time.

CanSino in May had agreed to bring its vaccine candidate to Canada for testing through a partnership with the National Research Council (NRC).

Because of the delay, NRC "has since moved on to focus our team and facilities on other partners," the organization said in a statement to Reuters.

"The process is not clear to the NRC, but CanSino does not have the authority to ship the vaccine at this time," said NRC in its statement.

Earlier, CanSino cited bureaucratic indecision as the reason behind the failure for its vaccine partnership in Canada, the Globe and Mail reported, quoting the company's chief executive officer.

Decisions in China on whether to send the vaccine to Canada were "caught in the bureaucracy", and some divisions of the Chinese government were not clear if the vaccine should "go to global trials or how to handle it", chairman and CEO of CanSino Biologics, Dr Xuefeng Yu, told the Globe and Mail in an interview. (

NRC said its agreement with CanSino had been reviewed by the company's Chinese government collaborators. After the agreement was signed, the Chinese government changed the process required to ship vaccines to other countries.

CanSino's vaccine candidate is one of the few being tested in a late-stage study, as companies race to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19.

It is based on a modified version of a common cold virus called adenovirus type 5 that was first developed by a Canadian researcher, Frank Graham.

CanSino's Yu is a former Sanofi Canada executive. The company had previously worked with NRC on an Ebola vaccine based on the same technology, and with other Canadian researchers on an experimental tuberculosis vaccine.

Quebec-based Medicago is the only Canadian company with an experimental vaccine in human trials, with several other projects in earlier stages of development. The federal government recently announced deals to buy vaccine doses from Moderna MRNA.O and Pfizer PFE.N.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru Editing by Alistair Bell)

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