The Government of the US has signed an agreement with Moderna to procure 100 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.

As agreed, the US will pay up to $1.525bn for the manufacturing and delivery of the vaccine doses including incentive payments for a timely delivery.

The agreement also includes an option to enable the purchase of an additional 400 million doses of mRNA-1273.

MRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine against Covid-19 jointly developed by Moderna and investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center.

In May, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted mRNA-1273 Fast Track designation.

Currently, it is one of the few vaccine candidates to advance to the final stage of testing. The Phase III study began last month with enrolment expected to complete in September.

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Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said: “We appreciate the confidence of the US government in our mRNA vaccine platform and the continued support.

“We are advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 with the ongoing Phase III study being conducted in collaboration with NIAID and BARDA.

“In parallel, we are scaling up our manufacturing capability with our strategic partners, Lonza, Catalent and Rovi, to address this global health emergency with a safe and effective vaccine.”

In recent weeks, the US government ramped up efforts to procure millions of doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from different companies as part of Operation Warp Speed programme.

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said: “For Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a broad portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year.

“With this latest investment, we will have supported the vaccine candidate developed by Moderna in partnership with the NIH all the way from early development through clinical trials and now manufacturing, with the potential to bring millions of safe and effective doses to the American people.”

Last month, Moderna signed a deal to receive additional $472m to support the late-stage clinical development of mRNA-1273.