Moderna and Lonza partner to manufacture potential coronavirus vaccine

Biotechnology company Moderna and Switzerland-based Lonza Ltd. announced on Friday a partnership in quest for a potential vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

The two firms said that they were agreeing to a 10-year collaboration to manufacture a potential Covid-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.

The collaboration will enable Moderna to accelerate its manufacturing capacity for mRNA-1273 and other products by a factor of 10, its chief executive Stéphane Bancel said in a news release on Friday.

“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,” said Bancel.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies plan to establish manufacturing suites at Lonza’s facilities in the United States and Switzerland for the manufacture of the potential vaccine, added the release.

In April, Moderna submitted an Investigational New Drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Phase 2 and late-stage studies of mRNA-1273 and the company expects to begin the study within the second quarter of 2020, according to the news release.

This is not the first international collaboration announced in quest for a potential coronavirus vaccine in the works. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced earlier on Wednesday it is collaborating with the biotechnology company BioNTech to develop a vaccine, which the companies said could be widely supplied by the end of the year.