Recipharm to supply fill-finish for Moderna’s COVID vaccine

Moderna has collaborated with CDMO Recipharm to support formulation of its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.

The vaccine was approved for emergency use in the US in December, and today the European Medicines Agency has recommended the vaccine for authorization.

Recipharm is set to join Moderna’s network of contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) to support mRNA-1273, a cell-free COVID-19 vaccine which, based on evidence from clinical trials, is 94.1% effective at protecting people from SARS-CoV-2.

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The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. However, Recipharm’s CEO, Thomas Eldred said “this is a material and strategically important agreement for us, and we are delighted to be working with Moderna on such a vital project to support the long-term fight against COVID-19.”

According to Eldred, Recipharm’s “preparations are already well underway with the hiring of new staff and investment in the facility to enable us to meet the challenging timelines.” A representative from Recipharm told us “we will add a further 60 to 65 additional staff.”

The process of fill and finish will be carried out in France where Recipharm’s drug production manufacturing facility is located, and the finished product will be supplied to countries outside of the US. A spokesperson for Recipharm said “assuming regulatory approval, we anticipate supply will commence in the early part of this year.”

On track for one billion doses

Moderna initially expressed their confidence in “attaining 500 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.” However, the firm has since increased this number.

A spokesperson for Moderna told BioProcess Insider that its production estimate has grown from 500 to 600 million doses for 2021 to one billion doses for 2021.

Moderna’s partnership with Recipharm ramps up the potential to produce this figure.

The vaccine is also being supported by fellow CDMOs Lonza, Catalent, and Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi. Moderna itself, meanwhile, is also manufacturing the vaccine from its own site in Norwood, Massachusetts, which opened in July 2018.

When asked to comment on the expected timeline of production, a spokesperson for Moderna said “any vaccine can only be made available to the public once the necessary authorisations and approvals have been received by the relevant competent authorities, confirming that rigorous standards of safety, effectiveness, and quality have been met. Once our vaccine has received the necessary regulatory approvals, we will be able to deliver it to governments for distribution.”

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