U.K. Expands Covid Vaccine Supplies With Novavax, J&J Deals

The U.K. signed two more deals to purchase doses of experimental vaccines for Covid-19, this time from Novavax Inc. and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit.

The government ordered 60 million doses of Novavax’s late-stage experimental vaccine, which may be available as early as the first quarter of 2021, the U.S. biotechnology company said in a statement Friday. Separately, Janssen said it got a U.K. order for 30 million doses.

The latest agreements bring the total number of potential vaccine doses secured by the U.K. to more than 300 million. The country of 66 million people has also signed deals with partners GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE as well as Valneva SE. The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc intend to make as many as 30 million doses available to the U.K. by September as part of a pact to deliver 100 million doses.

The U.K. agreed to help both Novavax and Janssen conduct third-phase clinical trials. Novavax should start in the third quarter, the company said. Novavax has an alliance with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies that will produce as many as 180 million doses of the vaccine annually in northeast England.

Janssen will conduct a final-stage test involving two doses in the U.K. The country has an option to buy an additional 22 million doses.

The European Commission said late Thursday that it’s seeking to secure 200 million vaccine doses from J&J. The European Union, of which the U.K. is no longer a member, has also said it’s closing in on a deal for as many as 300 million doses of the shot Sanofi and Glaxo are developing.

Results presented this month from a two-injection regimen of Novavax’s vaccine, when administered with the company’s immune-boosting technology, generated antibody responses that were four times higher than those seen in people who had recovered from the disease. The company has secured a $1.6 billion contract from the U.S. government under its Operation Warp Speed program.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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