Moderna driving forward production of vaccine from Basel
Moderna is opening a location in Basel and is advancing the production of the coronavirus vaccine from there. The Swiss government has just signed a supply contract with the US company for 4.5 million doses of the vaccine.
Moderna is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA. The biotech firm has now established a subsidiary in Basel, located close to Lonza, which is Moderna’s production partner. In establishing the new Moderna Switzerland GmbH, the company was “actively supported” by Basel Area Business & Innovation, as detailed by the investment and innovation promotion agency in a statement. The support ranged from answering questions related to setting up a company and work permits in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation all the through to suggestions with regard to office space. The attractiveness of the biotech ecosystem in the Basel Area has been underlined following Moderna’s successful establishment of a new subsidiary in the region.
The new location will be managed by Nicolas Chornet, who has been appointed Senior Vice President International Manufacturing, Europe at Moderna. “Establishing a European presence for Moderna is key to delivering on our manufacturing commitments outside of the U.S., and an important aspect of our future growth plans”, explains Chornet, who previously spent ten years working for Novartis, in the press release.
The government has reached an agreement with Moderna for the delivery of 4.5 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Moderna’s development is focused on what is known as an mRNA vaccine. The mRNA is a type of messenger molecule that carries an instruction manual for the production of proteins and tells body cells how to produce a virus protein. As soon as the body starts to produce the protein, the immune system recognizes it as an antigen. After this, antibodies against the virus are produced, with the aim here being to prepare the body to fight the virus. A Phase 3 study focusing on this issue is currently being conducted in the USA.
“With Moderna’s vaccine candidate for COVID-19 now in Phase 3 clinical trials, we’re pleased to have Nicolas building our capabilities to deliver mRNA solutions to Europe and other countries outside the US, from Switzerland with our strategic partner Lonza”, comments Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in the press release.