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Moderna in Talks to Supply Japan With 40 Million Covid Vaccine Doses

Moderna is in talks with Japan to supply the country with 40 million or more doses of its vaccine candidate starting in the first half of 2021.

Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report, one of more than 30 drug companies working on a potential vaccine for Covid-19, confirmed Friday that it was in talks to supply Japan with 40 million or more doses of its vaccine candidate.

In a statement, Moderna said it has made preliminary arrangements to supply Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare with 40 million or more doses of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, which is currently in stage 3 trials.

Under terms of the agreement, the vaccine will be supplied by Moderna and distributed in Japan by Takeda Pharmaceutical beginning in the first half of 2021, if the vaccine receives regulatory approval, according to the company as well as the Japanese ministry.

The announcement follows a flurry of news from other biotech and pharmaceutical companies this week that has fuelled expectations of a viable antidote and treatment for the pathogen sooner than later - as well as better methods for testing if people have it in the first place.

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Moderna itself earlier this week said it had concluded advanced talks with the European Union to supply 80 million doses of mRNA-1273. As part of its final-stage trials, the company has enrolled 30,000 adults who are at high risk of contracting Covid-19. The trial is expected to be completed by Oct. 27.

Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report last month announced that they will supply 120 million doses of their vaccine to Japan in the first half of 2021. That followed a $1.95 billion deal with the U.S. government to supply their vaccine in the U.S. 

Meantime, Sanofi  (SNY) - Get Sanofi Report and GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK) - Get GlaxoSmithKline Plc Report are also front-runners in the the coronavirus vaccine race, alongside AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report and the University of Oxford and U.S. drugmaker Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report.

Some 30 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently in various forms of study and trials, according to the World Health Organization.

Shares of Moderna were up 0.70% at $68.50 in trading on Friday.