A Johnson & Johnson building in Irvine, California, the US. Picture: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE
A Johnson & Johnson building in Irvine, California, the US. Picture: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE

New Jersey, US — The US government will pay Johnson & Johnson (J&J) more than $1bn for 100-million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, as it stocks up on vaccines and drugs in an attempt to tame the pandemic.

The latest contract is priced at roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J, or about $14.50 per dose, including a previous $456m the US government promised to J&J for vaccine development in March

That would be roughly in line with the $19.50 per dose that the US is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech.

J&J is studying both one and two-dose regimens of its vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech's candidate would require two doses per person treated.

The drugmaker said on Wednesday it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (Barda) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The US government may also purchase an additional 200-million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal's value.

As the race for vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 intensifies, the US government has been signing deals to buy them through its Operation Warp Speed programme. Other drugmakers that have signed deals include Sanofi and Regeneron.

This is J&J's first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are under way with the EU, but no deal has yet been reached.

J&J's investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the US and Belgium in an early-stage study.

There are currently no approved vaccines for Covid-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.

Shares of J&J were up about 1% in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.


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