U.S. backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waiver

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Myles Udland, Julie Hyman, and Anjalee Khemlani discuss what the vaccine patent waiver means for Moderna's business.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: But we do start with the situation with vaccines and that patent protection waiver, which might be happening. The World Trade Organization is deliberating whether it would make sense for many of the drugmakers, many of them based in the US, whether they're going to waive patent protection. Our Anjalee Khemlani has been covering this. We're seeing the drugmakers down this morning. This isn't a done deal. And it's still sort of unclear what the repercussions will be. But what do we know right now, Anjalee?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right. Let's start on that key point. We do not know what the repercussions would be. And we've seen the pushback from the drugmaker. Specifically, let's talk about the two key in the spotlight. And that's Moderna and Pfizer. Those are the two that have the most calls that they've been fielding globally about their doses because of what we've seen as sort of snags that AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson hit with those concerns of blood clots. AstraZeneca also was heavily relied on for global distribution through the World Health Organization, a joint philanthropic entity, COVAX.

And so with that shortfall because of the surge in India and its impact on the Serum Institute's ability to produce, there's been concern about what to do to sort of make up for that timeline. And that's where these conversations come in. There have been concerns about whether or not this could extend beyond COVID-19 vaccines. But here's what Moderna CEO told us when the discussions were still sort of in their baby phase. Listen to this.

STEPHANE BANCEL: Because we're still a small company-- Moderna is 1,300 people-- is the tech transfer will take resources away this year to prepare for next year if you were to outsource the technology.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So what he was saying, really, is that the company is too small to be able to transfer the resources to help with technology transfer. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla also told us that it really isn't about the ability, but more about manufacturing capacity. The Moderna CEO also said this morning on an earnings call that there is no additional capacity for an mRNA vaccine. So that really is a question mark, is, if they do, in fact, waive the rights, do they have capacity in the world that could truly impact the rollout of global vaccines?

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