Market Overview

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Partner Lonza Certain Of Starting Commercial Production This Year

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Partner Lonza Certain Of Starting Commercial Production This Year

Lonza said Tuesday the plants it's building to manufacture Moderna Inc’s (NASDAQ: MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine in the United States and Switzerland will be ready this year, Reuters reported.

What Happened: The Switzerland-based integrated healthcare solutions firm is building new production facilities in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which will begin operations in November, according to Reuters.

Another three facilities are reportedly under construction in Visp, Switzerland. Altogether, these facilities can begin supplying 300 million vaccine doses annually by December.

The Visp facility is nearly 50% completed and has obtained the necessary equipment at a fast pace. Torsten Schmidt, the head of the facility told Reuters, “You typically wait 12 months, you’re talking here about 4-5 months [for equipment delivery].”

Why It Matters: The Massachusetts-based drugmaker and Lonza have a 10-year agreement under which Moderna would be able to scale up the production of its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate up to one billion doses per year.

The technology transfer is expected to begin in June and U.S. manufacturing is likely to commence in July.

Moderna said Tuesday that the New England Journal of Medicine published interim results from a Phase 1 study of its vaccine candidate. The small study comprising of 40 adults suggested that mRNA-1273 created a strong immune response in older adults.

Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna vaccines are being considered for early distribution among health care workers and high-risk groups, according to the New York Times. Either vaccine may be distributed as early as late October or early November.

Price Action: Moderna shares rose almost 4.9% to $74 in the after-hours trading on Monday after closing mostly unchanged.


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