On heels of U.S. pact, Johnson & Johnson advances COVID-19 vaccine talks with Europe

J&J is moving forward in talks over a European supply agreement for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. (J&J)

Just one week after inking a COVID-19 vaccine deal with the U.S. for 100 million doses, Johnson & Johnson is moving forward with negotiations on a deal twice that size with the European Union.

In details unveiled Thursday, J&J is in talks to supply the EU with 200 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate—if the program succeeds in testing. Under the proposal, the deal would include an option for an additional 200 million doses.

If the vaccine proves safe and effective, the EU has the "contractual framework in place" to purchase the doses.

The move comes right after J&J reached a $1 billion deal for 100 million doses with the United States’ Operation Warp Speed. The government group, which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine to the U.S. by January 1, has already inked supply agreements for 800 million doses. 

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson pledges 100M coronavirus vaccine doses to U.S. for $10 each 

Meanwhile, Europe has been negotiating with global pharma giants as well. The EU has already concluded exploratory talks to purchase 300 million doses of the Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline candidate if it succeeds. Those companies are still negotiating, as well.

AstraZeneca, another leading COVID-19 vaccine player, pledged 400 million doses at no profit under a deal with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, which is led by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. AZ finalized its deal on Friday.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson to start human testing of COVID-19 vaccine next week 

As for Johnson & Johnson, its candidate recently entered human testing after positive preclinical data. The company kicked off a phase 1/2a study in more than 1,000 adults ages 18 to 55, and the study includes a cohort of people 65 and older.

J&J expects initial human results next month, and the drugmaker could start phase 3 efficacy testing in September. “We could have data before the year ends” or early 2021, R&D chief Paul Stoffels said on a conference call last month. 

Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect that the Johnson & Johnson deal has not been finalized.