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Vaccine technology transfer in a global health crisis: actors, capabilities, and institutions

Fonseca, Elize Massard da, Shadlen, Kenneth C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4010-4835 and De Moraes Achcar, Helena (2023) Vaccine technology transfer in a global health crisis: actors, capabilities, and institutions. Research Policy, 52 (4). ISSN 0048-7333

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.respol.2023.104739


The COVID-19 pandemic, which featured international pharmaceutical firms seeking to build global manufacturing networks to scale-up the supply of vaccines, has generated heightened interest in understanding the role of firm-to-firm technology transfer. While considerable attention has been given to tracking the extent of international vaccine technology transfer, we know little about how partnerships were established and work in practice. Understanding the challenges that such projects face, and how such challenges may be overcome, is crucially important. This paper provides an account of the partnership between the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, the vaccine developer that has engaged in the most technology transfer and built the widest global manufacturing network, and Bio-Manguinhos, a public laboratory linked to Brazil’s Ministry of Health. The case study demonstrates the importance of capabilities and regulatory flexibility. Moreover, the analysis highlights the role of political factors that affect the process of technology transfer, and innovation more broadly. Because of the risks involved and the need to quickly mobilize existing capabilities and build new ones, as well as the imperatives of coordinating among manufacturing and regulatory processes and allocating resources to make such arrangements feasible, technology transfer projects need to be enabled politically. Looking forward, the case study has implications for initiatives to expand technology transfer for broadened production of vaccines in the Global South.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2023 09:57
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2024 20:48

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