Considered by many observers to be the leader in the hunt for a coronavirus vaccine, Moderna (MRNA -0.55%) has apparently settled on a price for its potential blockbuster product. Citing "people familiar with talks between the company and potential buyers," the Financial Times reported Tuesday that the company aims to sell its vaccine at roughly $50 to $60 per two-dose treatment course.
That price applies to relatively prosperous countries such as the U.S. The article quoted "other people familiar with the plans" saying that the young biotech company has prioritized these markets. The report's sources claim that Moderna's pricing "causes considerable concern and difficulties in negotiations, in view of the fact that other companies have pledged much lower prices."
Citing the work of analyst Geoffrey Porges at SVB Leerink, the Financial Times wrote that pharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca (AZN -3.07%) has made arrangements to charge certain European governments only $3 to $4 per dose for its coronavirus vaccine if, and when, it is approved and available.
There is currently no market for vaccines to prevent coronavirus and/or COVID-19, the disease it causes, as no vaccine candidates have yet been approved for such use. Moderna's mRNA-1273, despite its relatively advanced development, only just entered phase 3 clinical trials on Monday.
The companies leading in the "vaccine race" for the coronavirus and COVID-19 are divided on whether or not to earn a profit for their work. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have said they will not, at least in the initial phases of vaccination, while Moderna, Pfizer, and Merck plan to do so.
Moderna has not commented on its apparent price settling. In mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday, in contrast to the slight rise of the top equity indexes, its stock was down by 2.1%.