Moderna disclosed on Wednesday during its second-quarter earnings call that it has struck some "smaller volume agreements" for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 at between $32 and $37 per dose. "We will be responsible on price, [setting it] well below value during the pandemic," CEO Stéphane Bancel said, adding that Moderna plans to charge less for larger volumes of mRNA-1273.
Bancel explained that a small order of its vaccine is defined as roughly in the single millions, while large deals "will be in a very different ballpark." The executive noted that after the pandemic is over and the novel coronavirus is considered endemic, pricing will follow traditional market dynamics, taking into account factors such as efficacy and number of competitors, and will be in line with other commercial vaccines. "We'll work with the market," Bancel said.
$400 million in deposits so far
A recent report citing sources familiar with the matter said Moderna was looking at charging $50 to $60 per course, or $25 to $30 per dose, and that this would apply to the US and other high-income countries, which the company intended to prioritise. Moderna indicated that it is negotiating with multiple countries to supply mRNA-1273, and has already received about $400 million in deposits as of July 31, although it did not specify which countries or governments the deals were with.
Late last month, it started a Phase III trial testing how safe and effective mRNA-1273 is on about 30,000 participants, with results expected as early as October. Interim results from an early-stage study recently published in the NEJM suggested mRNA-1273 induced "robust" neutralising antibody titers in all 45 study subjects, and that T-cell responses were triggered as well after the second dose.
Some other leading vaccine developers, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have pledged to not make a profit from their COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. Meanwhile, Pfizer and partner BioNTech recently inked a $2-billion deal with the US government for an initial order of 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate at a price of $19.50 per dose, while Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that it would sell the US 100 million doses of its potential vaccine in a deal worth more than $1 billion.
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