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Johnson & Johnson, EU Complete Exploratory Talks for Vaccine

The EU and Johnson & Johnson concluded exploratory talks regarding the purchase of 200 million doses of the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine.

The European Commission said Thursday that it’s making progress in negotiations with Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report to purchase 200 million doses of the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine.

The European Union's executive branch said in a statement that it “concluded exploratory talks” with J&J.

“The envisaged contract with Johnson & Johnson would provide for the possibility for all EU member states to purchase the vaccine, as well as to donate to lower and middle income countries or redirect to EEA European Economic Area,” the commission said.

“It is anticipated that once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against covid-19, the commission would have a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU member states and could further purchase up to an additional 200 million vaccine doses.”

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The commission said, “the exploratory talks concluded today are intended to result in an advance purchase agreement to be financed with the emergency support instrument, which has funds dedicated to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines with different profiles and produced by different companies.”

In that vein, the commission said it would “pursue intensive discussions with other vaccine manufacturers” as well. Last month, the EU said it’s getting close to a deal with Sanofi  (SNY) - Get Sanofi Sponsored ADR Report and GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK) - Get GlaxoSmithKline plc Sponsored ADR Report for as many as 300 million doses of the vaccine they’re developing.

Johnson & Johnson shares recently traded at $148.40, down 0.8%. The stock has gained 2% for the year to date. That compares with a 5% climb for the S&P 500.