Novavax said on Monday it delivered a notice to Gavi to terminate the COVID-19 vaccine sale agreement with immediate effect, citing the alliance's failure to procure the 350 million doses it had agreed to buy in May last year for the COVAX facility, a global vaccine distribution program.
"It is clear that Novavax will not be able to meet its commitment to manufacture" the doses under the agreement for COVAX before the end of 2022, a Gavi spokesperson told Reuters.
More than 18 months after signing the advance purchase agreement, Novavax has not been able to make a single dose available to COVAX from the contractually stipulated sites to-date, Gavi said.
Novavax had received a non-refundable advance payment of $350 million from Gavi last year and an additional $350 million this year after the vaccine got the World Health Organization's emergency use listing.
Novavax also has a pact with Serum Institute of India for manufacturing a version of the vaccine under the brand Covovax, which would also be supplied to the COVAX facility.
Gavi's spokesperson said Serum Institute had a 300 million dose commitment for Covovax, with options for 750 million more doses if needed.
Novavax is facing poor demand for its shot amid a global supply glut for COVID-19 vaccines and waning demand. It had earlier this month cut its full-year forecast yet again, hurt by late authorizations of its vaccine globally.
Novavax did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gavi's response to the termination.
(Reporting by Raghav Mahobe and Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)