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Italian firm developing AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine might go public - CEO

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian biotech firm IRBM, which is cooperating with British drugmaker AstraZeneca <AZN.L> in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, could be listed on the stock exchange, its chief executive said on Monday.

"Why not?", Piero Di Lorenzo told Italian newspaper Il Riformista, answering a question on whether the stock exchange could be in the company's future.

"Many big companies would like to enter our capital. We are receiving interest from all over the world and I don't rule out any option," he said, adding however that such a decision was not currently a priority, given the focus on the vaccine.

Italy could have its first shots of the vaccine by the end of November, IRBM said earlier this month.

The group has already produced tens of thousands of vaccine doses for the trial stage and has the potential to produce up to 10 million doses a year.

However, it does not have a production contract with AstraZeneca yet "but it is likely to, in the future", Di Lorenzo said.

Earlier this month AstraZeneca resumed global trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, which had been briefly put on pause due to a serious unexplained side effect in a participant in Britain.

It is still waiting for the U.S. drug regulator to approve the restart of the clinical trial in the United States.

"The lack of correlation between the illness and the vaccine was immediately clear and the independent scientific committee quickly acknowledged it," Di Lorenzo said.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Giulia Segreti and Susan Fenton)