Johnson & Johnson, one of the United States’ biggest pharmaceutical companies, is reportedly in advanced negotiations with the European Union regarding its developmental-stage COVID-19 vaccine.
It is unclear whether this deal would entail an advanced purchase or simply the option to buy the vaccine in the future, but this comes as major news since Johnson & Johnson plans to start human clinical trials for its experimental vaccine next month, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Johnson & Johnson Expedites Development And Production Of COVID-19 Vaccine To Accelerate In-Human Trials)
While Johnson & Johnson has yet to comment on this specific deal, the company has previously stated that it is committed to making their COVID-19 vaccine available globally and that it will engage in talks with other governments and global organizations, as reported by Reuters.
Some EU officials have confirmed that this agreement is in advanced stages. One EU source told Reuters that a call took place Tuesday with the American pharmaceutical company over the potential deal. Another said that the deal is “in the pipeline,” according to Reuters.
The EU is also reportedly in discussions with French vaccine maker Sanofi and British drugmaker AstraZeneca over other potential options for vaccines. The U.S. has been involved in similar talks with AstraZeneca since May.
While making deals with pharmaceutical companies in the early stages of vaccine testing and production is a significant risk, EU officials say the move makes sense due to the number of vaccines needed for every member nation. Officials told Reuters that if the EU made the deal, it would appoint a negotiation team and limit competition between member states over the vaccine.