USA – Moderna and Thermo Fisher Scientific have announced a manufacturing agreement that will ensure the production of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine Spikevax, as well as the biotech’s other investigational mRNA products, for the next 15 years.

Thermo Fisher will pledge dedicated capacity for a variety of aseptic fill-finish services, including dry powder and liquid filling, under the expanded agreement.

Thermo Fisher will also be on hand to provide inspection, labeling, and final packaging services, according to a press release from the companies.

Moderna has previously collaborated with Thermo Fisher on clinical research and contract manufacturing, including the rapid scale-up of aseptic fill-finish services and packaging of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

In June, Moderna hired Thermo Fisher for additional manufacturing duties. At the time, the biotech hired Thermo Fisher’s Greenville, North Carolina facility to handle fill-finish, labeling, and packaging duties for its COVID-19 vaccine.

The agreement was intended to support the production of “hundreds of millions of doses,” with manufacturing work set to begin in the third quarter of 2021, according to Moderna at the time.

According to Juan Andres, Moderna’s chief technical operations and quality officer, Thermo Fisher was already supplying Moderna with raw materials for its COVID-19 vaccine at the time.

The Thermo Fisher agreement is similar to a long-term agreement Moderna recently signed with Spain’s Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi, or Rovi.

Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, Moderna will make an unspecified number of investments in Rovi’s Madrid facility to increase capacity.

The Rovi agreement, which covers Moderna’s future mRNA-based drugs and vaccines as well as its current COVID-19 shot, is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

Meanwhile, AbbVie is abandoning work on all alpha V beta 6 (αvβ6) inhibitors that it paid US$20 million to Morphic Therapeutic to license in 2020.

The work is being halted due to a suspected on-target “safety signal” from preclinical testing.

Morphic received a US$100 million upfront payment from AbbVie in 2018, followed by a US$20 million payment in 2020 to license MORF-720 and MORF-627, programs that inhibit the v6 integrin.

Morphic’s pipeline does not include those assets. Nonetheless, it had planned to use the drugs to treat fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, a rare and fatal lung scarring disease.

Only two drugs have been approved for the disease, Ofex by Boehringer Ingelheim and Esbriet by Genentech, both of which were approved in 2014.

Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE