Moderna Inc MRNA is getting a boost Tuesday afternoon after announcing a coronavirus vaccine agreement with the U.S. government.
What Happened: The U.S. government has secured 100 million doses of mRNA-1273, and will pay up to $1.525 billion. With the previous award of up to $955 million from BARDA for the development of mRNA-1273, today's announcement brings the U.S. government commitments for early access to mRNA-1273 to up to $2.48 billion.
"We appreciate the confidence of the U.S. government in our mRNA vaccine platform and the continued support," said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna's CEO. "We are advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 with the ongoing Phase 3 study being conducted in collaboration with NIAID and BARDA."
What's Next: The U.S. government, as a part of Operation Warp Speed, will also have the option to purchase up to an additional 400 million doses of mRNA-1273 from Moderna.
"For Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a broad portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "With this latest investment, we will have supported the vaccine candidate developed by Moderna in partnership with the NIH all the way from early development through clinical trials and now manufacturing."
Why It's Important: The news comes on the same day Russia became the first country to confirm a coronavirus vaccine is safe for immediate use. Russia claims the vaccine passed all the necessary health and safety checks and was administered to one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughters.
Some experts remain skeptical, noting the absence of a Phase 3 trial could lead to premature optimism.
Moderna's stock traded up about 8.3% to $74.76 in after-hours trading.
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