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Pfizer Shares Leap After Agreeing To Provide US With 600 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

Pfizer will supply at least 100 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government, once it's approved, with the potential for 500 million additional doses that will be free-of-charge for American citizens.

Pfizer Inc. PFE shares extended gains Wednesday after the drugmaker agreed to provide 600 million doses of its developing coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government. 

Under terms of the agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, Pfizer, as well as its German partner, BioNTech BNTX, will receive $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses of its BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine, once its approved by regulators, with the potential for a further 500 million doses to be manufactured thereafter. Earlier this week, Pfizer and BioNTech reached a deal to sell 30 million doses of its vaccine to the U.K. government. 

American citizens will be vaccinated at no charge, Pfizer said, citing the U.S. government's previous 'no cost' commitment.

“We’ve been committed to making the impossible possible by working tirelessly to develop and produce in record time a safe and effective vaccine to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” said CEO Albert Bourla. “We made the early decision to begin clinical work and large-scale manufacturing at our own risk to ensure that product would be available immediately if our clinical trials prove successful and an Emergency Use Authorization is granted."

"We are honored to be a part of this effort to provide Americans access to protection from this deadly virus,” he added.

Pfizer shares were marked 4.1% higher in early trading following the announcement to change hands at $38.19 each, a move that would extend the stock's four-month gain to around 34%. BioNTech's U.S.-listed shares rose 5.4% to $96.57 each on the Nasdaq.

Last week, Pfizer received 'fast track' designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its BNT162 vaccine candidates based on preliminary data from Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies earlier this month. Early data from the German trial of BNT162b1 are expected to be released in July, Pfizer said at the time.

Earlier this month, Pfizer said preliminary results of its coronavirus vaccine study that it said triggered a 'strong immune response' in human trials, an unveiled plans to to test the most promising of its four vaccine candidates on up to 30,000 participants in trials set for the United States and Europe.

No serious adverse effects were reported in the study, Pfizer said, which included testing of two BNT1162b1 doses on 24 healthy patient volunteers, but those treated showed higher levels of COVID-19 antibodies when compared to those infected by the disease.

If regulators ultimately approve the drug, Pfizer said, the two companies plan to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of the year, and "at least" another 1.2 billion by the end of 2021.