AstraZeneca is looking to step up supplies of a possible coronavirus vaccine.
The UK drugmaker has expanded an agreement with cell therapy firm Oxford Biomedica.
AstraZeneca will pay an initial 20 million dollars to reserve manufacturing capacity at the cell therapy firm.
There could be further payments under the 18-month deal.
Oxford Biomedica was spun off from the city’s famous university in 1995.
It was among AstraZeneca’s initial partners when they teamed up to develop the vaccine.
At the time that deal was focused on UK and European supply.
But AstraZeneca now has its eyes on possible US fast-track approval of the vaccine.
Its drug is now in late-stage trials there, and is seen as one of the leading candidates for a successful treatment.
The UK giant is aiming to supply three billion doses globally.
Tuesday’s news capped a positive day for AstraZeneca, which also announced it had won EU approval for a new cancer medicine.
It wasn’t enough to lift shares though.
AstraZeneca stock was down almost one percent by early afternoon, slightly outperforming the broader FTSE index.