On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that the US government will buy 100 million doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna Therapeutics, which is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials.
Moderna has recently said the deal for its COVID-19vaccine candidate, called mRNA-1273, is worth more than $1.50 billion. The company said it will give the US government the option to buy up to 400 million additional doses.
The federal government has already invested $955 million in Moderna’s vaccine development, totaling its investment up to $2.48 billion, according to Moderna.
The experimental coronavirus vaccine is in its late-stage human trials, which will test its safety and efficacy in nearly 30,000 people. The company said it is expecting the results in October.
The US government also made similar deals for the COVID-19 vaccine with pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and others.
In a press conference at the White House, Trump said, “We are investing in the development and manufacture of the top six vaccine candidates to ensure rapid delivery. The military is ready to go, they’re ready to deliver a vaccine to Americans as soon as one is fully approved by the FDA and we’re very close to that approval.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) previously said it will pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine, with an option to acquire 500 million additional doses.
Later, the HHS announced that it would give Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses, with an option to acquire 200 million doses.
Furthermore, HHS signed a deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for more than $2 billion to develop and deliver 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine candidate, with an option to acquire an additional 500 million doses.
These deals are part of the Trump administration’s attempt to bolster vaccine development, manufacturing, and distribution in order to fight the ongoing COVID-19 battle under the federal program known as “Operation Warp Speed.”
On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar told ABC that the Operation Warp Speed is on track to produce “tens of millions of doses by December of FDA-gold-standard vaccine and hundreds of millions of doses as we go into the new year.”
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, “We appreciate the confidence of the US government in our mRNA vaccine platform and the continued support.” On August 5, Bancel said the company would price its vaccine “well-below value” during the pandemic period. However, he added that the company will price the vaccine at market value once the pandemic is under control.