Moderna Inc's (NASDAQ: MRNA) novel coronavirus vaccine program is brimming with activity, and the latest news out of the stable Friday is a 10-year strategic collaboration deal with Lonza, a Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization.
The collaboration would help scale manufacturing of mRNA-1273, a vaccine candidate targeting SARS-CoV-2. The tie-up also covers additional Moderna products in the future.
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Moderna, Lonza's Deal Terms
The collaboration envisages setting up manufacturing suites at Lonza's facilities in the U.S. and Switzerland to manufacture mRNA-1273.
Moderna expects the technology transfer to start in June, with the first batches of the vaccine likely to be manufactured at Lonza U.S. in July.
Moderna said the companies will subsequently establish production suites across Lonza's worldwide facilities that could facilitate manufacturing material equivalent of up to 1 billion doses of the vaccine per year, assuming the individual dose is 50 micrograms.
Funding for manufacturing at Lonza U.S. is partly covered by Moderna's contract with the BARDA, Moderna 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," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Moderna announced the filing of an IND application for a Phase 2 study, which is expected to commence in the second quarter contingent on favorable safety data from the NIAID-led Phase 1 study that is underway now.
Recently, Emergent Biosolutions Inc (NYSE: EBS) signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) to provide CDMO services for the latter's lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with the deal valued at $135 million.
Moderna shares were rising 6.22% to $48.85 in Friday's premarket session.
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