mRNA

Current winners of the Covid-19 vaccine race previewed plans for their windfalls at last week’s 40th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which took place virtually for the second consecutive year.

Moderna trumpeted $17.5 billion in 2021 Covid-19 product sales and sounded an optimistic note about the year ahead, claiming $18.5 billion in advance purchase agreements for vaccine or booster doses for delivery in 2022. Also, CEO Stéphane Bancel embraced the goal of bringing to market a “pan…

Merck KGaA will bolster its mRNA contract manufacturing business with the $780 million acquisition of Exelead, an Indiana-based CDMO, the multinational announced last week.

Exelead’s specialties include lipid nanoparticle-based drug delivery technology used in mRNA-based therapeutics, according to a Merck press release.

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Pfizer and BioNTech will jointly develop a third mRNA-based vaccine using Pfizer’s antigen technology and BioNTech’s mRNA platform—this time against shingles.

Under deal terms announced Wednesday, BioNTech will lock up $75 million in cash and an equity investment of $150 million from Pfizer. The German company could also earn milestone payments worth up to $200 million and a share of the profits, according to a joint press release. Pfizer, meanwhile, will get $25 million upfront from…

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are lobbying the U.S. government to force Pfizer and Moderna to share their Covid-19 mRNA technology with developing country vaccine manufacturers, the organizations said last week.

In an open letter, the activist groups quoted a December report by researchers from MSF and AccessIBSA that identified 100 manufacturers across Africa, Asia and Latin America with the “technical requirements and quality standards to manufacture…

Moderna plans to set up an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Australia capable of producing up to 100 million doses per year, the Massachusetts-based biotech announced Monday. The new facility, in the state of Victoria, will make shots against respiratory viruses including Covid-19, seasonal influenza and RSV, the press release said. The company did not disclose financial terms, but Reuters reported Monday that the deal could be worth up to $1.4 billion.

Moderna beat out a dozen…

Sanofi shared substantial growth expectations in immunization during its vaccine investors day last week.

Through a combination of new vaccines and increased sales of existing products, Sanofi "expects to more than double its vaccine sales by the end of the decade," for a total vaccines business size of almost $57 billion by 2030, FiercePharma reported.

The company sees mRNA, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs), and RSV as three areas of opportunity going forward, its press…

Moderna “does not have plans” to advance its chikungunya antibody candidate to Phase 2, the company revealed last week in its third-quarter earnings press release. The Massachusetts-based mRNA specialist said it had completed a Phase 1 study of mRNA-1944 and would publish full results soon. Moderna also deprioritized a chikungunya vaccine candidate (mRNA-1388) in January 2020.

In other news, the New York Times reported Tuesday on an escalating dispute between Moderna and the U.S.…

Wellcome Leap announced new grantees last week for its R3 (“RNA readiness and response”) program.

Co-founded in July by the Wellcome Trust spinout and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the $60 million R3 initiative aims to increase the number of RNA-based biologic products on the market (thereby driving down production costs) and create a self-sustaining network of manufacturing facilities for surge capacity.

Successful Covid-19 shots from Moderna and…

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BioNTech on Tuesday touted plans to start construction of an mRNA vaccine manufacturing plant in Africa in mid-2022, part of an agreement with Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Rwanda Biomedical Centre and other collaborators to establish “end-to-end manufacturing capacities for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa,” according to a BioNTech press release.

The agreement was formalized in a memorandum of understanding, the company said.

The German company would initially “staff, own and operate…

Seqirus announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has picked the CSL subsidiary to develop two influenza A(H2Nx) vaccine candidates through Phase 1.

The $35 million deal will evaluate one cell-based and adjuvanted candidate and one self-amplifying mRNA (sa-mRNA) shot, the New Jersey-based company said in a press release.