US govt awards $1.4 billion for development of new COVID therapies, vaccines

FILE PHOTO: The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company logo is seen on a building at the company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York

(Reuters) - The U.S. government said on Tuesday it had awarded $1.4 billion for the development of new therapies and vaccines against COVID-19, including a $326 million contract with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for a next-generation antibody therapy for prevention of infections.

The funding to Regeneron is a part of a $5 billion initiative dubbed "Project NextGen" by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Regeneron had earlier developed a monoclonal antibody therapy against COVID, which was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2020, but its use was limited early last year after it was found to be unlikely to work against the Omicron variant.

The funding also includes $1 billion for four mid-stage clinical trials of new COVID vaccines, and $100 million to Global Health Investment Corp - a non-profit organization that invests in new technologies that will accelerate responses to diseases.

(Reporting by Pratik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)