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The US government has signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) that will see the pharmaceutical company supply 100 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine. The pharmaceutical company was paid $1 billion for the deal.

The company’s vaccine is still under testing and is in early stages of human trials. Johnson & Johnson says it expects to start late-stage human trials in September. Under the agreement, the U.S an option to buy an additional 200 million doses.

“We are scaling up production in the U.S. and worldwide to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for emergency use,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief science officer at Johnson & Johnson, in a statement.

The hunt for COVID-19 vaccine

Around the world, the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine has become a major priority for players in the health industry as well as governments. So far there are several novel COVID-19 vaccines that are under at different stages of clinical trial. Companies around the world are patterning with governments to boost effort in the hunt for the vaccine.

The U.S government has bankrolled a number of pharmaceutical companies that have vaccines that various stages of clinical trials. In return to funding, the companies are to allow access to the drug in case they successful.

Moderna announces positive results from its coronavirus vaccine trial

Recently, Biotech Company Moderna announced positive results from a small, preliminary trial of its coronavirus vaccine. Following the announcement, the company’s stock price jumped 30%. Following the raise, the company issued a stock offering with an aim to raise $1 billion to fund the development of the vaccine.

The shift in Moderna’s stock price is the latest indication of how the pandemic and the desperate hunt for a vaccine are affecting the financial markets.

Other companies that have entered agreement with the U.S government to allow early access to their novel vaccines are AstraZeneca, Pfizer and BioNTech. Other deals that the U.S government has signed include a $2.1bn agreement with France’s Sanofi and UK-based GlaxoSmithKline for supplying 100m doses of the novel COVID-19 vaccines.

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