ILUSTRASI. Small bottles labeled with a 'Vaccine COVID-19' sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
KONTAN.CO.ID - BRUSSELS (Reuters). The European Commission is in advanced talks with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to reserve or buy up-front doses of its COVID-19 vaccine under development, two officials familiar with the talks told Reuters.
The move would be the first arranged by the European Union executive since it was mandated last week by the 27 EU national governments to use an emergency fund with more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) available to reach advance purchase or call-option deals with up to six vaccine makers.
The Commission’s deal with the U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson is “in the pipeline”, a top health official from an EU member state said, asking to remain anonymous as was mentioning confidential discussions about vaccines between the EU executive and EU governments.
A second EU source said the Commission had a call with Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday over the possible agreement on its potential vaccine.
A Commission spokesman had no comment. Johnson & Johnson was not immediately available for comment outside U.S. business hours.
It was unclear whether any deal would involve an advance purchase of the vaccine in testing, or an option to buy it.
Johnson & Johnson plans next month to start human clinical trials for its experimental vaccine against the highly contagious coronavirus, which has infected more than 8.36 million people worldwide, with 447,985 deaths.
Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands said last week they had acquired 400 million potential vaccine doses, in principle available to all member states, from British drugmaker AstraZeneca, which is developing a COVID-19 shot in conjunction with Oxford University.
AstraZeneca signed a similar deal in May with the United States.