KEY POINTS

  • Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine reportedly costs higher than its rivals
  • Each dose of Moderna's vaccine costs around $37
  •  The company began the Phase III trial of its experimental vaccine in late July

Moderna, the first biotech company to perform human trials of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States, is charging around $37 per dose of its experimental drug.

The cost is more than what their industry rivals are planning charge, CBS News reported. Modern says each person needs two doses of the drug to get full protection from COVID-19. This means it could cost a person upto $74.

At present, there is no approved drug to protect people from the coronavirus. Moderna appears way ahead of other biotech companies and drug manufacturers that are currently racing to develop a vaccine. The biotech firm, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, began the Phase III trial of its experimental vaccine in late July. This was after the company’s scientists saw promising results in initial tests conducted early this summer. The firm’s executives are confident their vaccine, which is their first commercial product, will be available by the end of the year.

European drug manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi recently reached a $2.1 billion deal with the U.S. government to manufacture at least 100 million doses of a vaccine. Mani Foroohar, an analyst from the brokerage firm SVB Leerink, says it would come for around $10.50 per dose. Another company, Pfizer, which is also developing a vaccine for the deadly bug, said its treatment cost is estimated to be around $19.50 for each dose. moderna coronavirus vaccine moderna coronavirus vaccine Photo: geralt/Pixabay

In a conference call with some analysts Wednesday, Aug. 5, Moderna executives explained the cost for the initial dose of their vaccine will be between $32 and $37. This could almost be 90% more than what Pfizer is planning to offer and three times more than what Sanofi-GSK is expected to offer.

“We are working with governments around the world, and ours, to ensure the vaccine is accessible regardless of our ability to pay. And we will be responsible on price, well below value, during the pandemic,” said Stephanie Basel, the CEO of Moderna. 

According to reports, the biotech firm received almost $1 billion in federal funding to research, develop, and produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The company did not say how much profit it intends to seek on treating the disease that has infected millions and killed more than 160,000 people in the United States.

While many of Moderna’s rivals promised to waive profits on their vaccines during a congressional hearing in July, the Cambridge-based biotech firm was unwilling to make a similar promise. “We will not sell it at cost,” said Dr. Stephen Hodge, the president of Moderna.