Moderna bags another US CDMO to help with fill-finish work for its vaccine amid booster push
Moderna has enlisted another CDMO to ramp up Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capability in its effort to provide 3 billion doses in 2022.
Starting in Q3, Thermo Fisher Scientific will carry out fill-finish, labeling and packaging services to support Moderna at the CDMO’s Greenville, NC site, the company said in a release.
“Thermo Fisher has been a critical partner in supplying raw materials for our COVID-19 vaccine and we are now pleased to further expand our relationship as an important manufacturing partner as well,” said Juan Andres, Moderna’s chief technical operations and quality officer, in a statement. “The addition of Thermo Fisher to our network will support our efforts to scale up our manufacturing ability.”
Moderna has also reached an agreement with Lonza to establish a new production line at the company’s Geleen, Netherlands site, which will add an additional 300 million doses per year in capacity.
The production in Geleen will help Moderna halve the dosage of its vaccine for pediatric use and as boosters against variants. Moderna has studied lower-dose versions of its jab to help stretch out the supply. So far, doses have consisted of 100 micrograms, but Moderna has also teamed with ROVI in Granada, Spain, to supply 600 million 50 microgram doses per year. Both of those pacts will be operational before the end of 2021, the company said in the release.
ROVI and France’s Recipharm have already been performing fill-finish services for Moderna’s vaccine in Europe. These moves are the latest announcements in a rapid ramp-up in production.
Last week, Moderna and Samsung Biologics inked a deal for fill-finish duties at its Incheon, South Korea plant. Moderna’s also pledged to double its Massachusetts lab space for a 50% increase in manufacturing, double manufacturing at Lonza’s Visp, Switzerland site and Rovi’s Spain facility. In April, Sanofi signed on with Moderna to produce its vaccine. That marked the third company Sanofi partnered with to produce the Covid-19 shot after its own attempts failed. The French drugmaker is also producing Pfizer-BioNTech and J&J’s jab at its manufacturing sites, including the one in Ridgefield, NJ.
Catalent — a Moderna partner — and Sterling are working together to provide more ultra-low temperature freezers for the CDMO to preserve highly temperature-sensitive material used in vaccines.
Meanwhile, Moderna’s pledged 50o million doses to COVAX early last month. Those doses will be sold at the lowest tiered price, and go to 92 of the lowest income countries by the end of next year. According to the agreement, 34 million of those doses are set to be delivered in Q4. Gavi, the vaccine alliance has already shipped 49 million Covid-19 vaccines donated from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India.