Moderna, one of the frontrunners in coronavirus vaccine development, acknowledged on Sunday the support of the US government in the company’s efforts of fast tracking the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the drug company’s CEO Stéphane Bancel, the government helped them in rapidly working on the vaccine, as they received federal aid of $472 million.
Shares for the company also hiked by 6 percent following announcement of receiving funding from the federal agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Moderna had also received $483 million three months ago from the US department, as the vaccine development was still in early stages. Stocks from Moderna’s executives are also being sold after an optimistic result from prior testing of the vaccine.
Going third phase
On Monday, around 30,000 participants from over 80 locations to join the third phase of trials by the company for the coronavirus vaccine, in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Initially, they thought of having 10,000 people for the trial, but after discussing with researchers from the government, they pumped up the scope.
The last phase of a coronavirus vaccine trial by US drugmaker Moderna is underway with 30,000 people taking part. pic.twitter.com/nYcI9exU8r
— DW News (@dwnews) July 29, 2020
Results are expected to come by October or November as per Bencel. In an interview with CNBC, the CEO stated: “It’s a really optimistic scenario. It could be November. Again, at this stage, it’s impossible for us to know precisely. It will depend on the event rate, the attack rate of infection.”
According to the World Health Organization, over 150 vaccines are being developed and about 17 percent have proceeded to human trials. Other companies like AstraZeneca, Novavax, Pfizer and other drug companies also gained financial support from BARDA in efforts to push for a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
How about the pricing, if ever?
About the pricing of the vaccine once successfully developed, Bancel mentioned to Yahoo Finance that they are going to reference previous vaccine prices, and could even offer discounts. He said: “We have invested $2 billion of our shareholder capital since we started the company. We need to get a return. We are highly aware this is a pandemic and we need to be very responsible on how we price a product.”
Bancel recognized the need for Moderna to profit. Should the vaccine be sold to markets, it will be their first product since founded a decade ago.