The United States government is going to pay Johnson & Johnson more than $1 billion for 100 million doses of the probable coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tackle the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker mentioned on Wednesday.

It said it is going to deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used following the approval or emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

US Government to Pay Over $1 Billion to Johnson and Johnson

Johnson and Johnson
Johnson and Johnson Wikimedia commons

The U.S. government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement, it said. The latest deal comes after BARDA agreed to provide $1 billion for J&J to build manufacturing capacity to make more than one billion doses of its experimental vaccine. This is J&J's first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been agreed.

J&J's investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study. There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19, and more than 20 are in clinical trials.

(With agency inputs)