20mn COVID-19 vaccine candidate by 2020 end: Moderna

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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US-based biotech company Moderna Inc has updated that its production is on track to deliver 20 million doses of its experimental mRNA based coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. 

Such an achievement would firmly place the pharma giant at maintaining its goal of producing 500 million to 1 billion doses in 2021.

Global vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca are already conducting advanced stages of trials for their COVID-19 cure candidates. Earlier this week Moderna said that it had enrolled 25,296 participants out of a planned 30,000 for its late-stage study.

The firm is closely engaging with Spain’s Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi and Switzerland’s Lonza Group AG to produce the vaccine outside the United States.

Moderna, which has no drugs in the market, has received nearly $1 billion from the U.S. government under its Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to speed up vaccine development for COVID-19. It has also struck a $1.5 billion supply agreement with the United States to provide 100 million doses and has finished advanced talks with the European Union for the vaccine.

The United States federal agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects 35 million to 45 million doses of vaccines from the first two companies to receive authorization to be available in the country by the end of this year.

Moderna’s chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel has earlier stated that his firm will seek emergency authorization for its vaccine’s use in high-risk groups if it proves to be at least 70% effective during ongoing trials.