The European Commission has reached a deal to buy 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from partners BioNTech (BNTX) and Pfizer (PFE), three days after they announced that their vaccine candidate was 90% effective based on in interim data from phase 3 trials.
“In the wake of Monday's promising announcement by BioNTech and Pfizer on the prospects for their vaccine, I'm very happy to announce today's agreement with the European company BioNTech and Pfizer to purchase 300 million doses of the vaccine,“ said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in a statement on Tuesday.
The Commission had an arrangement to buy 200 million doses, with an option to add another 100 million taking the total to 300 million doses.
The Commission is buying the vaccine doses on behalf of all 27 EU member states, and the states “can decide to donate the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries or to redirect it to other European countries,” it said.
“With this fourth contract we are now consolidating an extremely solid vaccine candidate portfolio, most of them in advanced trials phase,” von der Leyen said.
In after hours trading, Pfizer stock is set to open around 1% higher.
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The EU has already signed vaccine purchase agreements with AstraZeneca (AZN.L), Sanofi-GSK (SNY), Janssen Pharmaceutica, and is in talks with Germany’s other leading vaccine biotech CureVac (CVAC) und US-based Moderna (MRNA).
“Today’s finalised supply agreement with the European Commission represents the largest initial order of vaccine doses for Pfizer and BioNTech to date and a major step toward our shared goal of making a Covid-19 vaccine available to vulnerable populations,” said Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla in a statement.
The Commission has not commented on the cost of the vaccine. However, on the BioNTech call this week, strategy chief Ryan Richardson said that the price for the US was $19.50 per dose for the first 100 million doses. He said that that price could be considered “a benchmark for how we would price the vaccine to the developed world for similar volumes.”
BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin said on an investor call on Tuesday (10 November) that their partner Pfizer had already applied for regulatory approval of their vaccine in the European Union, Canada, the UK, and soon will apply for emergency-use approval in the US.
The Pfizer-BioNTech announcement sparked a massive rally on the stock markets this week. Reuters reported that $2tn changed hands on global stock markets on Monday. The rally is not abating: European markets opened higher again on Wednesday, teeing up a third straight day of gains.
Also today, Russia announced that its vaccine in development, called Sputnik V, had shown 92% effectiveness in large-scale trials.
WATCH: Vaccine hopes drive stocks higher again