Coronavirus: Commission expands talks to a fifth vaccine manufacturer

Aug 25, 2020

The European Commission has today concluded exploratory talks with Moderna to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. This is an important step towards the conclusion of an Advance Purchase Agreement, and therefore towards the implementation of the European Vaccines Strategy, adopted by the Commission on 17 June 2020.  This strategy aims to secure for all European citizens high-quality, safe, effective and affordable vaccines within 12 to 18 months. To do so, and together with the Member States, the Commission is agreeing Advance Purchase Agreements with vaccine producers reserving or giving the Member States the right to buy a given number of vaccine doses for a certain price, as and when a vaccine becomes available.

The European Commission is also committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world and not only at home. No one will be safe until everyone is safe.

This is why it has raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. 

Moderna is the fifth company with which the Commission has concluded talks, following Sanofi-GSK on 31 July, Johnson & Johnson on 13 August, CureVac on 18 August, in addition to the signature of an Advance Purchase Agreement with AstraZeneca on 14 August.

The envisaged contract with Moderna would provide for the possibility for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine, as well as to donate to lower and middle income countries or re-direct to European countries. It is anticipated that the Commission will have a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 80 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States, plus an option to purchase up to a further 80 million doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19. The Commission pursues intensive discussions with other vaccine manufacturers.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “After intense negotiations, the European Commission has now concluded talks with a fifth pharmaceutical company, to enable rapid access to a vaccine against coronavirus for Europeans. We invest in companies using diverse technologies, to increase our chances to have vaccines that are safe and effective. We continue talks with other companies – as we want to make sure that vaccines are rapidly available on the market. European investments in coronavirus vaccines will benefit the whole world and will help us beat this virus.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today's outcome following the talks with Moderna show that we deliver on our commitment to get access to a safe and effective vaccine.  I am pleased to see that we continue to fulfil our target of having a diversified portfolio of vaccines – a necessity to ensure eventual success and protecting our citizens against coronavirus.” 

Moderna is a U.S. based company pioneering the development of a new class of vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA plays a fundamental role in human biology, transferring the instructions which direct cells in the body to make proteins, including proteins that may prevent or fight disease.

The exploratory talks concluded today are intended to result in an Advance Purchase Agreement to be financed with the Emergency Support Instrument, which has funds dedicated to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines with different profiles and produced by different companies.   

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