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Moderna To Invest More To Increase Covid Vaccine Supply; Ups 2021 Supply Outlook

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Covid vaccine maker Moderna, Inc. announced its plans to boost vaccine supply at its owned and partnered manufacturing facilities to meet the global demand amid the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants.

The company raised its 2021 manufacturing supply forecast to between 800 million to 1 billion doses.

The biotechnology company is making more investments, by which it could increase global supply for COVID-19 vaccine to up to 3 billion doses in 2022. The planned investments are in Europe, including Spain, France and Belgium, Switzerland, and the U.S.

According to the company, the investment is necessary due to an expected significant need for booster vaccinations in 2022 and beyond.

The latest plans depend upon the mix between the authorized Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at the 100 g dose level and potentially lower doses of its variant booster candidates and pediatric vaccines, if authorized.

The company will begin making investments at its owned and partnered manufacturing facilities in 2021. Increased production from these investments are expected to ramp up in late 2021 and early 2022.

Moderna said its fresh investments will allow doubling of drug substance manufacturing at Lonza's Switzerland-based facility, a more than doubling of formulation, filling and finishing and drug substance manufacturing at Rovi's Spain-based facility, as well as a 50 percent increase of drug substance at Moderna's facilities in the U.S.

When completed, there will also be an increase in safety stock of raw materials and finished product used to deliver committed volumes.

Moderna's latest supply increase plans are in addition to its recently announced increases in formulation, fill and finish in the U.S. with Catalent and Sanofi. The company is also in advanced negotiations for other agreements.

Earlier this week, French drugmaker Sanofi had agreed to help manufacture up to 200 million doses of Moderna's covid vaccine in the U.S. starting in September 2021.

Moderna also announced that ongoing development data related to the current formulation of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (mRNA-1273) could support a 3-month refrigerated shelf life for the vaccine in alternative formats to facilitate easier distribution to doctor's offices and other smaller settings if authorized.

Currently, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is approved for storage up to 1 month at refrigerated temperatures and up to 7 months in a standard freezer.

In pre-market activity on Nasdaq, Moderna shares were gaining around 2.1 percent to trade at $182.45.

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