DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Rival pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson have partnered to produce 100 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and the work will get done right in North Carolina.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a $105.4 million contract to Merck for its Durham facility. The funds will be used to equip them with the capability to produce the drug substance, and formulate and fill vials of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States will procure an additional 100 million doses of the vaccine after meeting with the chief executives of J&J and Merck & Co.
“You know what’s clear is this is a historic, nearly unprecedented, collaboration, ” said Biden.
According to the contract’s details, the “period of performance” to fulfill the contract is Feb. 2022.
The United States has already paid over $1 billion for 100 million doses from J&J and had an option to purchase an additional 200 million doses.
The news comes more than a week after Biden announced that Merck & Co. will help make rival J&J’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in a partnership. Merck’s collaboration with J&J comes after Merck scrapped the development of its own COVID-19 vaccine candidates in January.
So far, Johnson & Johnson’s shot is the only one-dose coronavirus vaccine available in the U.S.