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Moderna Covid Drug Production Deal, And Other News: The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Biopharma

May 03, 2020 5:02 AM ETModerna, Inc. (MRNA)JAZZ, MRKR26 Comments


  • Moderna makes deal with Lonza to boost mRNA 1273 production.
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Moderna Boosts Production with Lonza Deal

Moderna Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MRNA) announced its new collaboration with Lonza for boosting its production capacity for mRNA 1273. The company had recently struck a deal with the federal government to focus on developing COVID 19 vaccine candidate. The company stands to receive $483 million from BARDA for accelerating the development of the vaccine. Moderna dosed the first patient under its Phase I clinical trial in March.

Under the latest deal with the Swiss firm, Moderna will be able to use Lonza manufacturing facilities in the United States and Switzerland. It is expected that the technology transfer may be started in June while the batch production in the United States may begin in July. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said, “This long-term strategic collaboration agreement will enable Moderna to accelerate, by 10 times, our manufacturing capacity for mRNA-1273 and additional products in Moderna’s large clinical portfolio. Lonza’s global presence and expertise are critical as we scale at unprecedented speed." The agreed longevity of the deal is 10 years and will involve creations of manufacturing suites at various Lonza manufacturing sites.

Moderna also recently announced that it has submitted with the FDA its plan to start Phase 2 and later stage trials of the vaccine candidate. The company has received early feedback for its Phase 2 study design. It is anticipated that the dosing for Phase 2 may start during the second quarter. The company is looking to enroll 600 healthy subjects for assessing the safety and efficacy of the shot with doses administered 28 days apart. Currently, there are a number of pharma companies in the race to produce vaccine for fight against COVID 19.

In response to the latest deal, Lonza chairman and CEO ad interim Albert Baehny said, “The current pandemic illustrates the need to

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