Twice in recent months, a small Canadian company has approached two large drug makers to obtain licenses to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines so the shot could be distributed in low and middle-income countries where supplies are scarce.

But a request made to AstraZeneca (AZN) was ignored, while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) denied the overture, according to executives at Biolyse. So now, the privately held company is asking the Canadian government to sidestep the vaccine patents in what could be a test of the willingness of a wealthy country to help ensure Covid-19 vaccine supplies reach impoverished corners of the globe.

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