Skip to main content
//empty //empty
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

The European Union is negotiating advance purchase deals of potential COVID-19 vaccines with drugmakers Moderna, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson and biotech firms BioNtech and CureVac, two EU sources told Reuters.

The talks follow a deal reached in June by four EU states with AstraZeneca for the upfront purchase of 400 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, in principle available to all 27 EU nations.

The information on the ongoing talks was shared by the European Commission, the EU executive arm, with EU health ministers at a meeting in Berlin on Thursday, the sources said.

Story continues below advertisement

The multiple talks confirm the bloc’s more assertive stance on procuring potential COVID-19 shots and drugs after Washington’s early moves in securing promising treatments and vaccines.

“We are in talk with several companies on possible COVID-19 vaccines,” a spokesman for the EU Commission told Reuters on Friday, declining to comment on specific firms as negotiations were confidential.

More than 150 possible vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to try to stop the pandemic. Of 23 in human clinical trials, at least three are in final Phase III testing – including candidates from China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech and AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The most advanced EU talks appear to be those with Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi, confirming a Reuters report in June, because the EU is already discussing details on the number of doses needed.

With U.S. giant Johnson & Johnson, the European Union is negotiating a supply of 200 million doses of its potential vaccine, the sources said, adding that additional supplies may also be available.

ADVANCED TALKS

The bloc is also planning to secure in the second half of next year 300 million doses of the potential vaccine developed by France’s Sanofi in co-operation with British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the sources said.

Asked about the negotiations, Sanofi told Reuters it was in “advanced talks with the EU for the delivery of 300 million doses.”

Story continues below advertisement

Negotiations were also ongoing, sources said, with U.S. firm Moderna, whose experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed this week it was safe and provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage study, according to U.S. researchers.

The bloc is also in talks with German biotechnology firms BioNtech and CureVac to buy in advance their potential vaccines, the sources said. Both firms, which have already been offered EU funds to develop their shots, declined to comment.

BioNtech is developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine in co-operation with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, for which 100 million doses could be available by the end of the year.

CureVac is a pioneer in the so-called messenger RNA approach, which is also being pursued by BioNTech and Moderna.

RNA molecules are single-stranded versions of the DNA double-helix that can be produced in a relatively simple biochemical process.

The EU-led talks are conducted by negotiators selected by a steering group in which all 27 EU states are represented.

Story continues below advertisement

Once deals are struck, EU states can place orders with drugmakers to secure precise amounts for their populations.

If doses of successful vaccines were not sufficient to cover the whole EU population, shots would be distributed based on demographic and epidemiological data, the Commission has repeatedly said.

A third EU source said the bloc was also renegotiating the deal struck with AstraZeneca by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, to make sure all EU states had equal access to the doses secured in the initial deal.

The source said this discussion was backed by the four states which first signed the deal.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies