China CanSino cuts ties with Brazilian firm, stops vaccine license

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BRASILIA, Jun 29 (Reuters) – Brazilian health regulator Anvisa canceled an emergency use authorization request for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s CanSino Biologics Inc after the laboratory cut ties with its Brazilian representative.

The move follows a wave of scrutiny in Brazil of vaccine contracts negotiated by intermediaries, a common local practice.

Federal prosecutors and Senate investigators are analyzing a deal for an Indian vaccine, and a senator accused President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday of turning a blind eye to alleged wrongdoing. The president and the companies involved in those talks have denied any wrongdoing.

CanSino and its former Brazilian representative, Belcher Farmaceutica Ltda, did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment on the end of their relationship.

Brazil’s Health Ministry signed a letter of intent on June 4 with Belcher to purchase 60 million doses of CanSino’s single-dose vaccine for delivery in the second half of this year, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The vaccine, branded Invites and developed by CanSino in conjunction with a research institute linked to the Chinese military, was priced at $ 17 per dose, according to the document.

Anvisa said in a statement that its board of directors voted unanimously late Monday to cancel the emergency use request after receiving an email notification from CanSino that Belcher is no longer an authorized representative in Brazil.

CanSino has requested to replace its representative in Brazil, but will have to request the emergency use authorization again, Anvisa added.

(1 dollar = 4.9434 reais)

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