American biotechnology company Moderna announced that it was preparing for the global launch of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and according to reports, has received $1.1 billion in deposits to facilitate supply. "We are actively preparing for the launch of mRNA-1273 and we have signed a number of supply agreements with governments around the world," Xinhua news agency quoted Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel as saying in a statement on Thursday.
In addition to the phase 3 study of the COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273, which is fully enrolled, Moderna now has four programs in phase 2 studies, according to Bancel. "Moderna is committed to the highest data quality standards and rigorous scientific research as we continue to work with regulators to advance mRNA-1273," he said.
On October 22, the phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 completed enrollment of 30,000 participants with approximately 37% of participants from diverse communities. Moderna also said that it is in conversation with the World Health Organization-backed COVAX facility on a tiered pricing proposal for mRNA-1273. However, there isnâ€™t yet a clear timeline of when it will be available.
The phase 1 interim analysis of the vaccine, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on July 14, showed that mRNA-1273 was generally well-tolerated across all age groups and induced rapid and strong immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.
"These interim phase 1 data suggests that mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19, can generate neutralizing antibodies in older and elderly adults at levels comparable to those in younger adults," Tal Zaks, Chief Medical Officer of Moderna, had said in a statement in September. "Given the increased morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 in older and elderly adults, these data give us optimism in demonstrating mRNA-1273's protection in this population, which is being evaluated in the phase 3 COVE study," he added.
The US government has agreed to purchase 100 million doses of mRNA-1273, with an option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.
(With IANS inputs)