Moderna prices its Covid-19 vaccine in the luxury range

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The maxim “when they go low, we go high” is not supposed to be about vaccine pricing. Nonetheless Moderna has reacted to Astrazeneca’s statement last month that its Covid-19 vaccine would be priced at “a few dollars” per dose by admitting that it has already signed deals for small quantities of its vaccine priced at $32-$37 per dose – or up to $74 for a full course. This makes mRNA-1273 the most expensive project for which a price has been disclosed, and will be highly controversial considering the nearly $1bn of US taxpayer funding Moderna has received to develop the vaccine. Reporting its second quarter results today, the company stressed that this price would fall if larger number of doses were ordered, with chief executive Stéphane Bancel saying that even the $74-per-course price was “well below value”. The group plans to hike the price up after the pandemic has passed and demand for the vaccine shrinks, saying that “market forces” would help decide how much it will cost. Still, Moderna might be getting a little ahead of itself: the vaccine has only just started its vast phase III trials and data won’t emerge before October at the earliest.

Pricing of selected Covid-19 vaccines
Project Company Proposed price per dose US taxpayer funding pledged ($m)
mRNA-1273 Moderna $32-37 955
BNT162b2 Biontech/Pfizer $19.50 1,950*
AZD1222 Astrazeneca "A few dollars" 1,200
Ad26.COV2-S Johnson & Johnson Approx $10 1,000*
Unnamed GSK/Sanofi Approx $10 2,100**
*Payment on delivery of 100m doses. **Award is for up to $2.1bn, less than half of which is for 100m doses. Source: Company disclosures.

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