Score another pre-approval sale for coronavirus vaccine-maker Moderna ( MRNA 1.53% ). European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that the EC will ink a deal with the company on Wednesday. The contract will allow the European Union's member countries to purchase up to 160 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, once the vaccine is approved by EU regulators.
Moderna has also inked a 100-million-dose supply deal with the U.S. government, with an option for up to 400 million additional doses. Japan has committed to buying 50 million doses in a three-way deal with Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical, which will import the vaccine.
Among those coronavirus vaccine developers that are already conducting late-stage clinical trials, Moderna is one of the last to strike a deal with the EU. Earlier this month, the EC signed a contract for 200 million doses of Pfizer ( PFE 1.95% ) and BioNTech's ( BNTX 2.88% ) vaccine, with an option to request an additional 100 million doses. Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ 1.06% ), which is a bit behind the leaders on the clinical trial front, had its EU contract wrapped up in early October. It will supply the EU with 200 million doses of its vaccine, assuming it passes regulatory muster. And AstraZeneca ( AZN -1.10% ), which announced positive late-stage results this week, signed a 400-million-dose deal back in June with Europe's Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), which is spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The financial terms of the deals haven't been disclosed, but the difference in timing could have to do with the drugmakers' financial situations. Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have pledged that they will not price their coronavirus vaccines to make a profit during the pandemic. Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna have made no such commitments. It would therefore make sense that the EC and IVA would jump on the opportunity to get AstraZeneca's and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines at cost, while negotiations over prices with the other companies might take more time.