The company announced the agreement Monday morning, hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was due to make an announcement of his own, following a visit with the National Research Council of Canada in Montreal.
Novavax — a biotechnology company that develops vaccines for serious infectious diseases — said in a statement that it expects to finalize the advanced purchase agreement “as early as the second quarter of 2021.”
Novavax’s vaccine (NVX-CoV2373) is currently in its second phase of clinical trials. The company plans to begin the third phase in September.
Earlier in August, the Canadian government announced it had signed two deals to purchase “millions of doses” of possible vaccine candidates against the novel coronavirus, but did not say how many doses it would buy nor how much it would cost. At the time, federal officials cited ongoing negotiations with multiple international suppliers.
The two separate procurement agreements were signed with Pfizer Canada, who is working with BioNTech in Germany, and one with U.S.-based Moderna. Both of these vaccine candidates have advanced to a third stage of clinical trials.
The Novavax agreement is the first glimpse of how many doses of a vaccine candidate the government is working to secure. The cost of the agreement is not yet clear.
The Novavax vaccine, and any other potential vaccine, will be required to pass Health Canada regulatory approval before being distributed.
Anita Anand, the minister of public services and procurement, in a statement called the in-principle agreement “an important step” in the government’s efforts to secure a vaccine as the pandemic continues and “evolves.”
As of Aug. 30, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed 9,117 lives in Canada overall, and 127,870 cases have been diagnosed, according to figures released by provincial and territorial governments.
The vast majority of people diagnosed — about 89 per cent — have recovered from the viral illness.
More than 6.3 million tests have been conducted since late January.
This is a breaking news story. More information to come.
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