Moderna Inc. MRNA announced Sunday it is receiving another $472 million funding from President Donald Trump's administration to support late-stage clinical development of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, including an expanded phase 3 study.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company was originally allocated a $483 million award, in support of its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate, as part of its contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Now that amount is being ratcheted up to $955 million as Moderna expects to conduct phase 3 trials with a significantly higher number of participants.
The biotechnology firm revealed that its phase 3 study, to be conducted in collaboration with the Anthony Fauci-led National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is expected to begin Monday. The trial would include 30,000 participants in the United States.
Why It Matters
Moderna claims it's on track to deliver nearly 500 million doses of the vaccine per year, and it could scale that number up to 1 billion doses next year due to its strategic collaboration with Lonza Group AG LZAGY.
The company said it is also collaborating with Catalent Inc CTLT for fill-finish manufacturing of the vaccine at that company’s Indiana facility.
Last week, Moderna suffered a setback in its vaccine development as it lost a bid to invalidate a key patent related to the technology for delivery of mRNA vaccines held by Arbutus Biopharma Corp ABUS.
The U.S. government is upping investments in the development, testing and production of the COVID-19 treatment. Earlier this month, it promised $1.6 billion in funding to Novavax, Inc NVAX for its vaccine’s late-stage trial, reported Politico.
“We’re very close to the vaccine — I think we’re going to have some very good results,” Trump reportedly said Tuesday.
Moderna shares closed 2.8% lower at $73.21 on Friday and traded about 1.1% higher in the after-hours session.
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