Moderna prices coronavirus shot at up to $37 per dose for small deals. What will big customers get?

Moderna manufacturing site
Moderna is charging between $32 to $37 per dose for its COVID-19 vaccine for some small purchases in the single millions. (Moderna)

Moderna has already put out a price tag for its yet unapproved COVID-19 vaccine candidate—and so far, it's the biggest yet.

The Massachusetts biotech’s charging between $32 to $37 per dose for its mRNA shot, dubbed mRNA-1273, for some “smaller-volume” purchasers, the company said on Wednesday.

That was nearly twice as much as the $19.50-per-dose price Pfizer and partner BioNTech have agreed to offer the U.S. government for 100 million doses of their rival mRNA vaccine. And if early numbers from a Johnson & Johnson agreement are any indication, that company is charging the U.S. around $10 per dose. AstraZeneca also scured a $1.2 billion deal with the U.S. government for the development of its vaccine, with supply commitment of 300 million doses.

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AstraZeneca and a collaboration between Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, both with financial backing from the U.S. government, have pledged to not make a profit from their vaccine candidates during the pandemic.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told investors on a Wednesday conference call that its price will be lower, or “in a very different ballpark,” for larger deals. He defined small deals as in the single millions.

Bancel called the tag a pandemic price that’s “well below value.” Once the health crisis is contained, the price will come in line with those of commercial vaccines, he said.

RELATED: Moderna nabs a BARDA billion as its kick-starts late-stage pandemic vaccine test

Moderna is one of the leaders in the COVID-19 vaccine development race, having started a phase 3 trial in 30,000 people to see whether the candidate can protect against infection with Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the illness. Early results are not expected until at least October, but the company’s already in talks with several countries for supply contracts, and as of the end of July has received about $400 million in customer deposits.

Moderna has reported positive early clinical data for mRNA-1273, claiming levels of vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies above those observed in convalescent patients. It has secured nearly $1 billion in two tranches of funding from HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Similarly, Pfizer and BioNTech have almost simultaneously kicked off a 30,000-patient phase 3 for an optimized BNT162b2 mRNA candidate. Previously, the pair touted that the BNT162b1 version induced stronger CD8 T-cell responses than Moderna’s shot did. Both BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 are being tested as two-dose regimens.

Though the partners inked a $1.95 billion supply deal with the U.S., they haven't received government funding to support R&D or manufacturing scale-up.

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