EU concludes talks with Moderna for potential COVID-19 vaccine

The European Commission concluded exploratory talks with Moderna, an American biotechnology company focused on drug discovery, drug development and vaccine technologies, to purchase a potential vaccine against the COVID-19, the Commission said in a statement.

The Commission envisaged a contract with the Massachusetts-based pharmaceutic company on behalf of the member states of the European Union (EU) to purchase 80 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, with an option to buy 80 million more. The purchases will be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

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.”

The Commission has completed talks with Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac, and signed an early purchase agreement with AstraZeneca for the vaccines. It continues to pursue discussions with other producers as well, said the statement.

The EU has a strategy aiming to secure for all European citizens high-quality, safe, effective and affordable vaccines within 12 to 18 months.

As of August 20, there were 169 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 30 of them were in clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization. Several vaccines from US, British, Chinese, German and Swiss developers have entered phase-3 trials.