US to pay over US$1 bil for Johnson & Johnson’s potential Covid-19 vaccine

NEW JERSEY: The US government will pay Johnson & Johnson over US$1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.

It said it would deliver the vaccine to 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, it said.

The latest deal comes after Barda agreed to provide US$1 billion for J&J to build manufacturing capacity to make more than 1 billion doses of its experimental vaccine.

This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been agreed.

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, and more than 20 are in clinical trials.