Moderna to provide 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to US

The government award is worth more than $1.5 billion, which includes incentive payments for "timely delivery" of the vaccine.

Scientists develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Saint Petersburg (photo credit: REUTERS)
Scientists develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Saint Petersburg
(photo credit: REUTERS)
One of the leading COVID-19 vaccine developers, Moderna Inc., announced on Tuesday that it will provide 100 million doses of its potential mRNA-1273 vaccine to the United States government following an agreement penned between them.
The government award is worth around $1.525 billion, which includes incentive payments for "timely delivery" of the vaccine.
“We appreciate the confidence of the U.S. government in our mRNA vaccine platform and the continued support,” said Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel. “We are advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 with the ongoing Phase 3 study being conducted in collaboration with NIAID and BARDA. In parallel, we are scaling up our manufacturing capability with our strategic partners Lonza, Catalent and Rovi, to address this global health emergency with a safe and effective vaccine.”
Moderna's price per person comes to around $30.50 for a two dose regimen.
The US has made several deals to acquire doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines ahead of their approval by regulators, as part of its Operation Warp Speed program that aims to deliver a vaccine in the US by the end of the year. Washington has also advanced purchase agreements with Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca Plc, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, and Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline Plc for their respective vaccine candidates.
The agreements would lock in more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the US, assuming that the companies involved receive regulatory approval. Some deals also give the United States an option to purchase additional doses.
“For Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a broad portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “With this latest investment, we will have supported the vaccine candidate developed by Moderna in partnership with the NIH [National Institute of Health] all the way from early development through clinical trials and now manufacturing, with the potential to bring millions of safe and effective doses to the American people.”
Other countries, including Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada, have forged similar deals with drug makers.
The US already provided Moderna with $995 million prior, which went towards the development of the vaccine. The new award brings America's total contributions to $2.48 billion. The US holds the option to purchase an additional 400 million doses following the successful delivery of the first 100 million.
Moderna was the first to start human testing of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus on March 16, some 66 days after the genetic sequence of the virus was released.
Last week, the company announced the start of a late-stage trial on 30,000 people to demonstrate that its vaccine is safe and effective, the final hurdle prior to regulatory approval. It has said that the vaccine could be ready for widespread use by the end of this year.
The company's vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, is one of the few that have already advanced to the final stage of testing. Effective vaccines are seen as essential to halting the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 741,000 lives worldwide.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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