Leading biotech companies, Moderna and Lonza, partner to manufacturer a potential COVID-19 vaccine on a large scale
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna, and Basel, Switzerland’s Lonza recently entered into a 10-year strategic collaboration for larger-scale manufacture of the company’s vaccine, mRNA-1273. The deal is aimed at fostering the manufacturing of Moderna’s potential COVID-19 vaccine on a large scale as well as other future Moderna projects.
“We are very pleased to partner with Lonza, which shares our commitment to rapidly addressing this pandemic which has created a global health crisis,” said StephaneBancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer. “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. Our common goal is to potentially enable manufacturing of up to 1 billion doses of mRNA-1273.”
mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine developed to fight the SARS-CoV-2, encoding a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein. The mRNA vaccine is a new type of technology, containing a section of messenger RNA that codes for a protein associated with the virus.
The deal includes both companies setting up manufacturing suites at Lonza’s U.S. and Switzerland facilities for manufacturing the vaccine. The technology transfer is expected to start in June, with the first batches of the vaccine at Lonza U.S. in July. Both companies are also expected to establish more production suites across Lonza’s facilities globally as time goes on, to manufacture up to 1 billion doses of mRNA-1273 yearly.
Part of the funding for manufacturing at Lonza U.S. falls under Moderna’s contract with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Responses within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. BARDA supports late-stage clinical development programs of the vaccine.
In the face of the global pandemic, over a hundred companies and organizations in different parts of the globe have expressed interest in the development of vaccines against the virus. The major trend in the pharmaceutical industry is that smaller biotech companies and institutions with promising vaccines are beginning to partner with large biopharma companies with expertise and capabilities for large-scale manufacturing and distribution.
The world at this time is hopeful that a vaccine is developed to fight the COVID-19 that has continued to ravage the world since the start of 2020.
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