Moderna, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, today announced that the European Commission has approved an agreement to secure 80 million doses of mRNA-1273, Moderna’s vaccine candidate against COVID-19, as part of the European Commission’s goal to secure access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for Europe.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the European Commission has the option to increase their purchase of the company’s COVID vaccine from 80 million doses to a total of up to 160 million doses.
The agreement will be finalized following a brief review period by the European Union Member States.
This announcement follows the conclusion of advanced exploratory talks with the European Commission that began on 24th August, 2020.
Delivery of the vaccine could begin as early as the first quarter 2021 if it is approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) human medicines committee (CHMP), which started a rolling review of mRNA-1273 on 17th November, Moderna said.
This tallies with Health Minister Chris Fearne's remarks earlier this month where he said Malta would be given doses of the vaccine days after it is released in Europe, and this could be as early as the first quarter of 2021.
“We appreciate the confidence the European Commission has demonstrated in our mRNA vaccine platform by including mRNA-1273 (the vaccination against COVID-19) in their portfolio of vaccines. We recognize that tackling this global pandemic will require a number of solutions, and we are proud of the role Moderna has been able to play in this global effort,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.
“We have scaled up our manufacturing capacity outside of the United States with our strategic partners, Lonza and Rovi, to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year beginning in 2021, if approved.”
In Europe, Moderna is working with its strategic manufacturing partners, Lonza of Switzerland and ROVI of Spain, for manufacturing and fill-finish outside of the United States. This is a dedicated supply chain to support Europe and countries other than the United States that enter into purchase agreements with Moderna.
The company said that it remains on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021. If the relevant regulatory approvals are granted, Moderna expects to begin shipping mRNA-1273 to the European Union beginning in December 2020.
On 16th November, Moderna announced that the independent, U.S. NIH-appointed Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 (the vaccination against COVID-19) has informed Moderna that the trial has met the statistical criteria pre-specified in the study protocol for efficacy, with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5 per Cent.
This study, known as the COVE study, enrolled more than 30,000 participants in the U.S. and is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Moderna is advancing messenger RNA (mRNA) science to create a new class of transformative medicines for patients. mRNA medicines are designed to direct the body’s cells to produce intracellular, membrane or secreted proteins that can have a therapeutic or preventive benefit and have the potential to address a broad spectrum of diseases. The company’s platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, providing Moderna the capability to pursue in parallel a robust pipeline of new development candidates.
Moderna is developing therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases and cardiovascular diseases, independently and with strategic collaborators. Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Moderna currently has strategic alliances for development programs with AstraZeneca PLC and Merck & Co., Inc., as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Moderna has been named a top biopharmaceutical employer by Science for the past six years.