Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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US in $1.5bn deal with Moderna for potential coronavirus vaccine

The United States has entered an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to acquire 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine for approximately $1.5bn, the company and White House said.

The US in recent weeks has made deals to acquire hundreds of millions of doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines from several companies as part of its Operation Warp Speed programme, which aims to deliver a vaccine in the country by the end of the year.

Moderna's price per dose comes to about $30.50 per person for a two-dose regimen.

With the exception of its deal with AstraZeneca, which offered a lower price per drug in exchange for upfront research and development costs, all the deals price coronavirus vaccines between $20 to $42 for a two-dose course of treatment.

Moderna's vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, is one of the few that have already advanced to the final stage of testing and is on track to be completed in September, the company said this month.

Moderna's deal with the US only pays out in full if the drugmaker hits certain timing benchmarks for vaccine delivery.

The Trump administration has already reached supply agreements with several other vaccine front-runners.

In July, it agreed to buy 100 million doses of a messenger-RNA vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE for $1.95bn, should the vaccine work in trials. And earlier this month, the federal government also reached a supply pact with Johnson & Johnson for the company to provide 100 million doses of its vaccine for more than $1bn.

While Pfizer's price is slightly more than what Moderna will get on a per-dose basis, Pfizer has not received government money for testing its vaccine.

The agreements would lock in more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the US, assuming that the companies involved receive regulatory approvals. Some deals also give the US an option to buy additional doses.

The US government previously gave Moderna about $1bn to fund its research efforts, bringing total US funding to approximately $2.5bn.

SOURCE: ALJAZEERA

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