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COVID News Flow: Pfizer-BioNTech's US Vaccine Supply Deal, Merck Strikes $356M Contract, Sorrento Files For EUA Of Rapid Test

COVID News Flow: Pfizer-BioNTech's US Vaccine Supply Deal, Merck Strikes $356M Contract, Sorrento Files For EUA Of Rapid Test

COVID-19-related developments headlined biotech news flow on Wednesday, with announcements of a couple of federal deals and a filing for emergency use authorization.

Pfizer-BioNTech to Supply U.S. 100M Incremental Doses: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE)-BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) announced the U.S. government has firmed up commitment to purchase an incremental 100 million doses of the companies' investigational vaccine – BNT162b2, confirming earlier reports.

The companies had initially struck a deal with the U.S. in late July to supply 100 million doses of BNT162b2 for $1.95 billion, with the contract also providing an option for supplying an incremental 500 million doses.

The government has now confirmed its intention to purchase additional 100 million doses of the vaccine candidate for $1.95 billion. All the 200 million doses will be delivered by July 31, 2021, allowing vaccination of 100 million people in the U.S., the companies said.

BNT162b2 is a mRNA vaccine, and a 2-dose regimen is envisaged for it.

The government now has an option to acquire an additional 400 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's investigational vaccine.

Related Link: Sarepta, Amicus Top Biotech Picks Ahead Of Key Binary Events: Analyst

Merck to Supply COVID Treatment: Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) announced an agreement with the U.S. government to develop, manufacture and distribute CD24Fc, an investigational biologic therapeutic candidate to be named MK-7110, upon either approval or emergency use authorization.

The investigational treatment was acquired by Merck following its acquisition of privately-held OncoImmune and is being evaluated in a Phase 3 study for treating hospitalized patients with severe and critical COVID-19.

Topline results from an interim analysis released in September showed treatment with a single dose of MK-7110 resulted in a 60% higher probability of improvement in clinical status compared to placebo,

The agreement with the U.S. government calls for Merck to receive $356 million for manufacturing and supply of about 60,000-100,000 doses of MK-7110 to the U.S. through June 30, 2021.

Sorrento Seeks Clearance For Rapid COVID Test: Sorrento Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SRNE) said it has submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization application for its COVI-STIX rapid diagnostic test for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus nucleocapsid antigen in nasal samples of patients.

"In testing conducted to date, COVI-STIX has provided results within 15 minutes, with positive detection as quickly as two minutes for patient samples with high viral load," Sorrento said.


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