The UK government has inked deals with Janssen and Novavax for a further 90 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines.
Janssen, the pharmaceutical unit of Johnson & Johnson, will supply the UK government with its Ad26.COV2.S candidate, with an initial 30 million doses agreed on a non-profit basis for emergency use.
The agreement also provides a further option for an additional purchase of up to 22 million doses, the company said. J&J has also agreed to work with the UK government on a Phase III trial to explore a two-dose regimen of its vaccine candidate.
Novavax, on the other hand, said the UK will buy 60 million doses of its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine candidate, for use in a large-scale Phase III clinical trial.
The trial will study the vaccine in approximately 9,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 85. Novavax said it will partner with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in the UK for the manufacture of the antigen component of NVX-CoV2373.
Doses of Novavax vaccine will be supplied to the UK as soon as the first quarter of 2021, with the phase 3 trial planned to begin in the third quarter of this year.
"The government's strategy to build a portfolio of promising vaccine candidates will ensure we have the best chance possible of finding one that works,” said UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
"Today's agreements will not only benefit people in the UK but will ensure fair and equitable access of a vaccine around the world, potentially protecting hundreds of millions of lives,” he added.