Moderna’s mRNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19 was the first to be administered in humans, after a development time of just 63 days.
Now, with funding from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Moderna is working to rapidly scale its manufacturing capability of the potential vaccine.
The company announced that it had signed a 10-year worldwide partnership with Lonza, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), for the large-scale manufacture of mRNA-1273.
Additionally, Moderna noted that Lonza would also be responsible for the manufacture of further products ‘in the future’.
The plan is to begin technology transfer for manufacture in June, which should enable the first batches of the vaccine to be produced in July by Lonza’s US business.
After this step is complete, the partners will be able to assess taking on additional production suites across Lonza’s worldwide network, with the long-term goal of reaching 1 billion doses per year.
Lonza stated that manufacturing suites in Switzerland will be made available for the production of mRNA-1273.
Moderna will utilize its own manufacturing capabilities in the US for the vaccine candidate, and the company added that it would still be looking to ‘ramp up’ its capacity for clinical development and potential commercialization.
The partnership aiming to hit capacity for one billion doses follows a similar path to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate; J&J also stated that it aimed to enlarge capacity to hit the same figure, signing a partnership with Catalent last week, among other partners, to achieve this.
Despite the speed with which vaccine candidates, and their related partnerships, are developing, there remains doubt as to whether it will be possible to see one reach commercialization in the next year, according to an analyst at GlobalData.