Novavax (NVAX.O) told the European Union that it plans to start delivering its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc later this year, a new direction that could lead to the signing of a formal contract as soon as possible. this week, an EU official told Reuters.
A deal would see Novavax deliver a total of 200 million doses of the vaccine, providing the EU with booster shots to help contain the coronavirus and potentially guard against new variants, according to the official, who has direct knowledge of the talks. .
Novavax reached a preliminary deal with the bloc in December, but a final deal was delayed as the U.S. company struggled to source raw materials, Reuters reported in March.
The EU official, who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential, said Novavax still had production issues, but what had changed is that “now they have a schedule of delivery “.
Novavax has told the EU in meetings over the past two weeks that it plans to send the first small shipments towards the end of this year, with the large one due for delivery in 2022, according to the official, who said that the shots would complement a huge vaccine supply project from Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech (22UAy.DE) ,.
A spokesperson for the European Commission, which co-leads discussions with vaccine makers and governments of the 27-country bloc, declined to comment because the matter is confidential.
Novavax said its negotiations with the EU are continuing. He declined to comment on the delivery schedule, production issues or whether a formal deal was imminent.
Regardless of a possible deal, EU purchases remain conditional on regulatory approval of the Novavax vaccine, which has been evaluated under continuous review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) since February.
The EMA has not set a date for its decision on the vaccine, which has yet to be approved anywhere in the world.
ALTERNATIVE TO PFIZER
The European Commission has repeatedly expressed confidence that it has obtained enough doses to meet its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of its adult population by the end of July. The World Health Organization says about 70% of the population must be immunized to stop transmission.
The EU is therefore now preparing plans for the years to come, to ensure that the bloc will have enough boosters if they need them to help keep COVID-19 under control and fight against variants.
As part of this strategy, the EU has already reached a huge deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for the supply of up to 1.8 billion doses of their vaccine in 2022 and 2023, the biggest contract ever signed globally. with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer.
Novavax’s protein-based vaccine represents an “alternative or complement” to the mRNA vaccine produced by Pfizer, the EU official said, although it is available in much smaller quantities. Of the planned 200 million doses, half are optional and can be purchased later by the EU if desired.
“We will certainly add other potential vaccines, for example protein-based vaccines also have tremendous potential,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said at the end of April when she announced that the agreement with Pfizer was about to be signed.
The French drug maker Sanofi (SASY.PA), in partnership with the British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), is also trying to produce a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine and has already signed a supply agreement with the EU. But their trials suffered a setback in December, delaying development.
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