This comes after the company issued a press release on Thursday stating that it received up to $483 million dollars in federal funding “to accelerate development of the company’s mRNA vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against the novel coronavirus.” The money is from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), who will fund the advancement of the possible vaccine to move towards earning a licence from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began conducting a Phase 1 trial with participants on Thursday.
“Vaccines are a critical tool for saving lives and stopping the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” BARDA Director Rick Bright said. “Delivering a safe and effective vaccine for a rapidly spreading virus requires accelerated action. BARDA’s goal is to have vaccine available as quickly as possible and preparing now for advanced stage clinical trials and production scale-up while the Phase 1 is underway could shave months off development of COVID-19 vaccines.”
Additionally, Moderna plans to hire up to 150 new team members in the U.S. this year to support this accelerated process. “This includes a significant increase in its skilled manufacturing staff to expand manufacturing capacity from two shifts per day, 5 days per week to three shifts per day, 7 days per week, engineers to manage process scale-up, and clinical and regulatory staff to support clinical development,” according to the release.
Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, had this to say about the agreement with BARDA:
“We are thankful for BARDA’s support to fund the accelerated development of mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. Time is of the essence to provide a vaccine against this pandemic virus. By investing now in our manufacturing process scale-up to enable large scale production for pandemic response, we believe that we would be able to supply millions of doses per month in 2020 and with further investments, tens of millions per month in 2021, if the vaccine candidate is successful in the clinic.”
MRNA stock was up 15.4% on the news Friday.
Nick Clarkson is a Web Editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.