Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, secured a nearly $2 billion order from the U.S. government for a vaccine that doesn’t yet exist.
Under the agreement, the companies said Wednesday the government will receive 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and can acquire up to 500 million additional doses.
It's part of the government's "Operation Warp Speed" program that aims to speed up development of vaccines and treatments. Americans will get the vaccines for free.
Pfizer would have to prove its vaccine candidate is safe and effective in a big Phase 3 clinical trial and get Emergency Use Authorization or approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The companies said they expect to seek some form of regulatory approval as early as October. Pfizer's and BioNTech's vaccine has shown promise in small, early-stage studies in humans. On Monday, the two companies said that their latest data showed that two doses of their experimental vaccine produced virus-neutralizing antibodies in healthy volunteers.
News of the deal drove shares of both companies higher in early trading Wednesday. BioNTech's shares have nearly tripled this year.