Incentivizing at-risk production capacity building for COVID-19 vaccines

Hongmei Sun, Fuminori Toyasaki*, Ioanna Falagara Sigala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Our study analyzes capacity management for promising vaccine candidates before regulatory approval (i.e., at-risk capacity building) in the presence of production outsourcing and different operational challenges: misaligned interests, possible ex post negotiations, asymmetric information between developers and manufacturers, and government involvement. We develop analytical models to compare two vaccine production modes: (1) the integrated mode (a single company determines the at-risk capacity and produces in-house) and (2) the outsourcing mode (a manufacturer determines the at-risk capacity and a developer determines a funding level to share the capacity-building cost). Our study reveals that outsourcing can achieve a higher at-risk capacity only if it can achieve sufficient cost savings compared to the integrated mode. Our research also proves that both vaccine production modes tend to underinvest in the at-risk capacity. Following this, we suggest measures to improve the at-risk capacity building in both vaccine production modes. Our signaling game model reveals that a developer with high competence cannot always send credible signals of its true competence level to the manufacturer. Our incomplete contract model verifies that the relative performance of the two vaccine production modes is robust when ex post negotiation occurs under the outsourcing mode; however, the two parties may show incompatible preferences for the ex post negotiation. Our study also analyzes the optimal allocation of government financial support to development funding and capacity funding to incentivize at-risk capacity building. We present comprehensive guidelines for the different stakeholders to collectively contribute to ramping up the at-risk capacity of promising vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalProduction and Operations Management
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 27.01.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • accelerated development and production of vaccines
  • capacity management
  • government funding
  • incomplete contract
  • signaling game


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