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Weizmann supporter leads COVID vaccine deal for Latin America


Date: November 11, 2020

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, now in advanced clinical trials, is being licensed and produced in Argentina and Mexico by Grupo Insud. Dr. Hugo Sigman, President of the Argentinean Association of Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science, is owner and CEO of Insud.

Insud owns the biotechnology company that signed a tech transfer agreement with AstraZeneca. The agreement involves the production of 150-250 million doses of the vaccine, enough to supply all of Latin America with the exception of Brazil, which has its own licensing agreement.

The vaccine was developed at the University of Oxford, and is beginning Phase III trials in Brazil, with other large-scale clinical studies underway in the UK and South Africa, with promising results. AstraZeneca has forged deals with multiple countries to produce more than two billion doses of the investigational COVID-19 vaccine, expected to be delivered in the first half of 2021, pending successful Phase III studies and regulatory approvals.

Dr. Sigman was born in Buenos Aires and has an MD from the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Together with his wife, biochemist Silvia Gold, he co-founded Chemo Group in 1977, a chemical-pharmaceutical company, and the first company of Groupo Insud. The diversified group has a commercial presence in the fields of pharmaceuticals, agroforestry, cinema, and design.

Under Dr. Sigman’s leadership of the Argentinian Friends, the group has come together in a collective effort to establish two postdoctoral fellowships to bring talented Argentinian PhDs to the Weizmann Institute. This initiative is being carried out in cooperation with Conicet, Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council.