Phase One Finale: What’s happening in the world of the vaccine?

Pfizer could make over $15 billion in vaccine sales

An analyst has predicted that Pfizer could make over $15 billion from the vaccine at its current price of $19.50 per dose, in addition to the $1.95 billion Pfizer has already received from the government. Pfizer might argue that it did not receive government funding for research and development itself, and that the U.S. government is simply buying up stock for its people, so the company is not beholden to the same “not-for-profit” pledges that its competitors are–but the fact remains that Pfizer will be charging $19.50 per dose to customers who have already paid a collective $1.95 billion through taxes.

Moderna has launched Phase III trial for its vaccine candidate

On July 27th, Moderna launched the Phase III trial for its coronavirus vaccine candidate. Just days earlier, the company had lost a patent dispute in which it attempted to invalidate patents held by the company Arbutus, which holds rights to technology that delivers medical treatments via mRNA–like Moderna’s potential vaccine. Moderna, however, argues that this will not be an obstacle to bringing its vaccine to market. The company also received an additional $472 million in funding from BARDA for the Phase III trial; the company has now received a total of $955 million from the US government in funding for coronavirus vaccine research.

Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Genentech, Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, and AbCellera enter data sharing agreement

The six companies received permission from the Justice Department on July 24th to share information on manufacturing facilities, capacity, and supplies, although to protect against price fixing, the companies will not be allowed to share production costs or pricing information. The hope is that sharing manufacturing information will help the companies accelerate manufacturing and take their coronavirus drugs to market faster.

Inovio vaccine obstructed by VGXI trade secrets

A recent report by Third World Network (TWN) reveals that the company VGXI has refused Inovio’s request to transfer its trade secrets to the manufacturers needed to produce Inovio’s vaccine in the necessary quantities. VGXI controls the intellectual property related to manufacturing the DNA plasmids required for Inovio’s vaccine, and despite the company’s insufficient capacity, it refuses to let other companies produce it. As the TWN report notes, such issues could hinder the manufacturing of other vaccine candidates as well, especially as many of them rely on newer technologies. The situation is still developing, but as of now, Inovio has filed a lawsuit against VGXI, and the company has countersued.

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