U.S. to pay Moderna $1.7 billion for 66 million doses of a new COVID-19 vaccine booster

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Shares of Moderna Inc. MRNA, +3.81% gained 3.8% in premarket trading on Friday after the company said the U.S. will buy 66 million doses of a bivalent COVID-19 booster candidate that can better protect against the BA.5 strain. That vaccine is not yet in clinical trials but studies are expected to begin “in the near future,” a Moderna spokesperson told MarketWatch earlier this week. The U.S. government will pay up to $1.74 billion to Moderna to produce and deliver 66 million doses of the booster candidate. There is also an option for the U.S. to purchase up to 234 million doses of COVID-19 booster candidates developed by Moderna. Both Moderna and Pfizer are developing bivalent boosters that equally target the original strain of the virus and the BA.4 and BA.5 variants. Moderna’s stock is down 37.7% this year, while the broader S&P 500 SPX, +1.42% has declined 14.5%.

This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.

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