USA – Moderna has announced plans to enter clinical trials for mRNA vaccines targeting 15 infectious diseases, including HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, by 2025.

The drugmaker’s clinical portfolio currently includes vaccines for COVID-19, HIV, Nipah, and Zika, but its new strategy will include shots for diseases such as Chikungunya virus, Dengue fever, Ebola virus disease, and Lassa fever.

Moderna also stated that it is continuing its “prototype” vaccine approach, which employs preliminary versions of immunizations developed against representative viruses that can then be rapidly adapted to combat other related pathogens in order to better respond to future epidemics caused by currently unknown infectious agents.

Through a program called mRNA Access, the company announced that it has granted outside researchers’ access to its mRNA technology in order to conduct research on emerging and neglected infectious diseases.

Moderna, on the other hand, will not share its COVID-19 vaccine technology with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mRNA hub in South Africa, which has already produced a copy of Moderna’s vaccine.

This prompted French virologist Marie-Paule Kieny, who chairs the hub and the Medicines Patent Pool, to call on the company to do “more.”

COVID-19 patent stance

The expanded portfolio plans were announced on the same day that Moderna pledged to “never enforce” its patents for COVID-19 vaccines against manufacturers in or for the 92 low- and middle-income countries covered by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), provided the vaccines are only used in those countries.

However, in other markets where “vaccine supply is no longer a barrier to access,” the company expects those who use its patented technologies to respect its intellectual property.

Furthermore, the drugmaker revealed that it has chosen Kenya as the location for its manufacturing facility for the production of mRNA-based vaccines for Africa.

Moderna is building this state-of-the-art mRNA facility in Africa with the goal of producing up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year at the 50 µg (microgram) dose level.

The Company anticipates investing up toUS$500 million in this new facility which is expected to include drug substance manufacturing with the opportunity for fill/finish and packaging capabilities at the site.

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