The Trump administration will provide as much as $2.1 billion to Covid-19 vaccine partners Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the biggest U.S. investment yet in fast-tracking shots and snapping up supplies.
Part of Operation Warp Speed, the funding will support clinical trials and manufacturing while allowing the U.S. to secure 100 million doses of the shot, if it’s successful, the companies said Friday. The country has an option to receive an additional 500 million doses longer term.
The deal follows billions of dollars of U.S. commitments to other experimental vaccines — all still needing to show their effectiveness in testing — and may stoke concerns that some countries will be left behind.
Vaccines are seen as the key to leading the world out of the pandemic that has killed about 675,000 people in a matter of months.
Sanofi and Glaxo, two of the world’s biggest vaccine makers, signed a deal earlier this week with the U.K. government, which has also raced to lock up supplies.
The companies are in talks with global organizations and the European Union, and said they plan to provide a significant portion of capacity in 2021 and 2022 to an initiative focused on accelerating development and production worldwide and deploying shots equitably.