Scaling up millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine is a huge step in knocking down the pandemic, and a 10-year strategic plan between Cambridge biotech company Moderna and Swiss company Lonza aims to accomplish that goal.
Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine has shown promise in early studies, and the company announced in early May it will partner with Lonza to enable manufacturing of up to one billion doses per year of the vaccine.
The first batches of the messenger ribonucleic acid vaccine, called mRNA-1273, are set to be manufactured at Lonza’s United States suites in June, according to Moderna.
Over time, more production sites at Lonza’s many worldwide facilities will be established to make up to a billion doses a year.
“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,” said Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer.
“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,” he said.
Lonza is a global provider of health care technology specializing in biotech to prevent, treat or cure disease. The company was founded in 1897 and is known for advanced manufacturing and quality control systems.
“We are fully committed to leveraging our global network and experience in manufacturing technologies to support Moderna’s manufacture of mRNA-1273 as well as collaborating on future Moderna products,” said Albert Baehny, Lonza’s chairman.
The first clinical batch of Moderna’s vaccine was made on Feb. 7 and underwent testing before it was shipped to National Institutes of Health on Feb. 24, a quick 42 days from sequence selection.
Moderna moved fast and the first participant in the Phase 1 study of mRNA-1273 was dosed on March 16, according to the company.