US signs Covid $1.95bn vaccine deal with BioNTech
White House moves to secure up to 500m doses of promising vaccine candidate
The US government has signed a $1.95 billion deal to secure access to 100 million doses of a Covid vaccine being developed by German company BioNTech in association with Pfizer. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA Wire
The deal, announced by BioNTech is part of a US programme – Operation Warp Speed – to deliver 300 million doses on Covid vaccine by the end of next year.
Assuming it is sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine will be distributed free to American patients.
BioNTech said that the US government has also secured rights to acquire up to an additional 500 million doses.
Reporting the news, the Financial Times noted that people will likely require at least two doses, putting the cost per immunisation at around $40 under the terms of the agreement.
“We are pleased to have signed this important agreement with the US government to supply the initial 100 million doses upon approval as part of our commitment to address the global health threat,” said BioNTech cofounder and chief executive, Ugur Sahin.
“ This agreement is one of many steps towards providing global access to a safe and efficacious vaccines for Covid-19.
“We are also in advanced discussions with multiple other government bodies and we hope to announce additional supply agreements soon. Our goal remains to bring a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine to many people around the world, as quickly as we can,” he said.
The announcement comes two days after Pfizer and BioNTech announced an agreement with the United Kingdom to supply 30 million doses of the Covid vaccine, assuming it makes it to market.
Financial details of the UK agreement were not disclosed.
“We’ve been committed to making the impossible possible by working tirelessly to develop and produce in record time a safe and effective vaccine to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive.
The companies say that they currently expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021, subject to final dose selection from their clinical trial.