Michael Erman and Carl O’Donnell
July 31 (Reuters) – US government Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline Plc will pay $ 2.1 billion for COVID-19 vaccines to cover 50 million people and ban drug manufacturers’ testing and production, companies said on Friday.
The award is the largest of the White House’s Warp Speed Surgery initiative, which aims to accelerate the availability of vaccines and treatments to combat COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The agreement, announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, costs about $ 42 per person vaccinated.
That’s almost identical to $ 40 per patient, the U.S. agreed to pay Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE when they signed a nearly $ 2 billion deal last week for 50 million courses of that potential vaccine.
The Sanofi-GSK deal is for 100 million doses, two for each person, giving the government the option to buy an additional 500 million doses at an unspecified price. Sanofi and GSK plan to launch clinical trials of the vaccine in September.
Sanofi chief Clement Lewin said the companies had not yet negotiated with the government on a specific price for the additional doses.
GSK said in a statement that more than half of the total funding will go to further vaccine development, including clinical trials, and the rest will be used for production increases and dose introductions.
The two companies ’vaccines are a combination of a vaccine based on the effects of Sanofi flu and an additional GSK technology called an adjuvant to improve the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Sanofi will receive most of the revenue from this transaction.
This is the second contract with a candidate for the French-British couple’s vaccine after they agreed to supply 60 million doses to the British government this week.
Reuters said last week that the Pfizer agreement is expected to set a pricing benchmark for future deals between drug manufacturers and governments.
Moderna Inc. and Pfizer on Monday launched two trials of 30,000 investigational COVID-19 vaccines that could help validate and use them by 2020. The end. (Additional reports by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Edited by Peter Henderson, Grant McCool and Jan Harvey)