DALIAN, China -- Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm is preparing phase three clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates.
Sinopharm affiliate China National Biotec Group received approval from UAE health authorities to run the late-stage trials, the company said late Tuesday. The Middle Eastern country plans to host the vaccine's production if the study is completed successfully.
State-owned Sinopharm aims to be the first group to put a coronavirus vaccine on the market. The schedule for the UAE trials has yet to be disclosed.
Phase three trials involve larger numbers of individuals and usually are the final phase before a drug is submitted for approval. Phase four studies in the U.S. are conducted after a treatment receives Food and Drug Administration approval.
Sinopharm, formally known as China National Pharmaceutical Group, is developing separate vaccine candidates at laboratories in Wuhan and Beijing. All human subjects in the Wuhan project's phase two trial produced antibodies, the company said June 16.
For the Beijing lab, Sinopharm installed equipment in April capable of producing 120 million doses yearly. The Wuhan lab is constructing a plant designed to make 100 million doses annually.
The World Health Organization cites 13 ongoing clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine candidates as of June 18. Five of them are being conducted by Chinese developers. Sinovac Biotech and CanSino Biologics have announced phase three trials in Brazil and Canada, respectively.