US commits $1.6B to Covid-19 vaccine maker Novavax

Drug trial: An engineer shows an experimental vaccine to treat COVID-19 tested at the quality control laboratory of Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing on April 29. (AFP/Nicolas Asfouri). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

WASHINGTON D.C., Jul 7, 2020, CNN. The federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed” Covid-19 vaccine program has given a $1.6 billion contract to Maryland biotech company Novavax. It is the largest federal contract yet awarded to any Covid-19 vaccine company, CNN reported.

“It speaks to the confidence that they have in our platform to be able to develop a vaccine,” Stanley Erck, Novavax’s CEO, said Monday in an interview with CNN.

It is the fourth company to receive federal funds to conduct large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials and manufacturing of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In May, the government awarded more than $1.2 billion to pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for vaccine development. The other two companies that received Phase 3 contracts are Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Phase 1 clinical trial data from Novavax on 131 study subjects is expected by the end of the month, Erck said.

He added that Novavax’s Phase 3 trial could begin in the late third quarter of 2020.

Moderna is expected to start its Phase 3 trial later this month. It will involve 30,000 study subjects, some of whom will get the vaccine and some of whom will get a placebo, or an injection that does nothing.

Novavax’s $1.6 billion will allow the company to scale up production of the vaccine in advance of its potential approval, with the aim of delivering 100 million doses by February, Erck said.

Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Dana Vigue

Share it

Exclusive: Beyond the Covid-19 world's coverage