The European Commission (EC) has signed a supply deal with Moderna which will see it secure an initial 80 million doses of the US biotech's COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273.

The EC will also have the option to increase their purchase of mRNA-1273 to a total of up to 160 million doses as part of the overarching supply deal.

The decision to purchase the dose supply follows the conclusion of advanced exploratory talks between Moderna and the EC, which originally began in August.

“We appreciate the confidence the European Commission has demonstrated in our mRNA vaccine platform by including mRNA-1273 in their portfolio of vaccines. We recognise that tackling this global pandemic will require a number of solutions, and we are proud of the role Moderna has been able to play in this global effort,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.

“We have scaled up our manufacturing capacity outside of the US with our strategic partners, Lonza and Rovi, to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year and possibly up to one billion doses per year beginning in 2021, if approved," he added.

Last week, the UK also secured access to five million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, after interim data suggested that the shot is 94.5% effective.

The preliminary results come from an interim analysis of 95 cases in a phase III trial of the shot, of which 90 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus five cases in the vaccinated group, reflecting a 94.5% efficacy rate.

The EC has also signed COVID-19 vaccine deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac for their respective candidates.

“We are setting up one of the most comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine portfolios in the world, providing Europeans access to the most promising future vaccines under development so far,” commented Ursula von der Leyen, president of EC.

“A safe and effective vaccine can help us end the pandemic, and return gradually to normal life,” she added.