Moderna faces a slew of challenges in keeping with its bigger competitors in the chase for a COVID-19 vaccine, most crucially its limited manufacturing and distribution capacity. With its supply chain on the upswing, Moderna is looking to nab an expansive distribution deal with the EU as a complement to its multibillion-dollar U.S. pact.
Moderna and the European Commission have concluded "advanced exploratory talks" to supply up to 160 million doses of the Massachusetts biotech's mRNA-based COVID-19 shot, the company said in a release.
The potential deal—which is waiting final approval—would ship an initial 80 million doses to the EU's member states and leave open the option to purchase an additional 80 million at a later date.
The base EU agreement is roughly in line with the $1.23 billion pact Moderna secured with the U.S. earlier this month for an initial 100 million doses. But the U.S. order goes much further than its proposed EU counterpart.
Moderna will supply an initial 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. for $1.225 billion with a possible $300 million bonus if the biotech scores an FDA emergency use authorization or full approval by Jan. 31.
The pact gives the U.S. government the option to purchase up to 400 million additional doses in four 100 million-dose tranches. Each option would cost $1.65 billion, putting the cost per dose at roughly $16.50.
If the government exercised all those options, Moderna would score $6.6 billion in additional revenue, according to a securities filing. The government also provided Moderna with nearly $1 billion in R&D costs for its mRNA shot, which would become the first of its kind ever approved.
But Moderna won't be handling manufacturing alone. In late June, it teamed up with Catalent, which will handle fill-finish duties for up to 100 million doses of Moderna's shot for U.S. distribution.
Catalent will fill vaccine vials and package them for distribution in the U.S. at its Bloomington, Indiana facility. The partners are also in talks for capacity beyond the initial 100 million-dose order.