Week's news analysis

How governments secure future vaccines for their citizens

By The Editor - 03 september 2020

In the race against Covid-19, drug companies are speeding to bring to market a vaccine. Meanwhile, for months, governments from all around the world have been working on supply deals to secure millions of doses of the future vaccines candidates for their citizens.

The latest announcement involved Moderna. End of August, the company said it was in discussions with the Japanese government about a potential advance purchase agreement for 40 million or more doses of the company's mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine candidate. If it receives regulatory approval, the vaccine will be supplied by Moderna and distributed by Takeda in the first half of 2021. In order to secure 521 million doses of five different Covid-19 vaccines in 2021, Japan has also signed deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer or domestic company Shionogi.

Elsewhere, numerous deals were signed between countries and companies. Here are some of the main announcements:

- The US government reached several "advance purchase agreements" with several drugmakers to secure millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines. These deals included Moderna, the Pfizer-BioNTech Alliance, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax or Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline partnership.

Moderna has taken on a $1.5 billion work order for 100 million doses and around $2.5 billion in US funding for both the development and supply of its vaccine. The agreement also included an option to purchase up to another 400 million doses. The company teamed up with Catalent, which will handle fill-finish duties for up to 100 million doses. Under the agreement, Catalent will fill vaccine vials and package them for distribution in the US at its Bloomington, Indiana facility.

The US government also placed an initial order to Pfizer and BioNTech for 100 million doses of their mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate BNT162 for $1.95 billion. It can also acquire up to an additional 500 million doses.

AstraZeneca has received $1 billion in funding from the US government for the production of its coronavirus vaccine, adding that it has secured orders for 400 million doses of the unproven treatment for delivery from September.

Johnson & Johnson signed a $1-billion contract with the US government to supply 100 million doses of Ad26.COV2.S, with an option to acquire additional doses that would be sufficient to vaccinate up to 300 million people.

Novavax was awarded $1.6 billion by the US government to progress development of NVX CoV2373 and potentially deliver 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as early as late 2020.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline gained more than $2.1 billion from the US government to support the development of their adjuvanted vaccine and to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine as part of the american Operation Warp Speed programme.

- The first contract the European Commission has negotiated on behalf of the EU member states entered into force following the formal signature with AstraZeneca in August.

The contract allows the purchase of a vaccine against Covid-19 for all the member states of the EU. They will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford joined forces to develop and distribute the University's potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine.

In parallel, the European Commission has secured several "exploratory talks" with various companies like Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Curevac.

With Moderna, the initial purchase reached 80 million doses of mRNA-1273, with an option to buy another 80 million. The company has looked to contract manufacturing partners to secure enough doses to meet global demand (Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi, Lonza). With CureVac, the initial purchase reached 225 million doses of the company's mRNA-based vaccine candidate, with an option to supply a further 180 million doses. The European Commission also held discussions with Sanofi for a potential order of 300 million doses of the vaccine being co-developed with GlaxoSmithKline, and with Johnson & Johnson for a possible initial order of 200 million doses of its Ad26.COV2.S candidate, plus the option for another 200 million doses.

- The UK government has worked on several deals to secure millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines candidates.

It secured early access to 90 million doses of treatments being developed by French company Valneva and a partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer. It also inked a deal with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to secure 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate; and another one with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for the supply of up to 60 million doses of an adjuvanted vaccine, worth up €550 million. Last but not least, Johnson & Johnson agreed an initial sale of 30 million doses. The government previously penned a deal with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to secure 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate.

PHARMAnetwork magazine - Edition NO45 - May 2020: "mRNA IN THE FOREFRONT FOR VACCINE CANDIDATE"| Read...
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