U.S. Invests $472mn More in Moderna

By Contract Pharma Staff | 07.27.20

Expansion of BARDA deal supports mRNA-1273 clinical development plan including 30,000 participant Phase 3 COVE study conducted in collaboration with NIH.

Moderna has unveiled a modification to its contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for an additional commitment of up to $472 million to support late stage clinical development including the expanded Phase 3 study of the company’s mRNA vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19.
 
An earlier award from BARDA for up to $483 million was entered into to support the scale up of mRNA-1273 and clinical development, originally with a smaller anticipated number of participants in the Phase 3 clinical trial. Following discussions with the U.S. FDA and consultations with Operation Warp Speed over the past several months, the company has decided to conduct a significantly larger Phase 3 clinical trial, leaving a gap in BARDA funding that will be closed by this contract modification. Under the terms of the revised contract, BARDA is expanding their support of the company’s late stage clinical development of mRNA-1273, including the execution of a 30,000 participant Phase 3 study in the U.S. The total value of the award is now approximately $955 million.
 
“We thank BARDA for this continued commitment to mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate against COVID-19,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer, Moderna. “Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks.”
 
Phase 3 COVE Study Begins
 
Moderna also announced that the Phase 3 study of its mRNA vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19 has begun dosing participants. The Phase 3 study, called the COVE (Coronavirus Efficacy) study, is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 
“We are pleased to have started the Phase 3 COVE study,” said Mr. Bancel. “We are grateful to the efforts of so many inside and outside the company to get us to this important milestone. We are indebted to the participants and investigators who now begin the work of the COVE study itself. We look forward to this trial demonstrating the potential of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so that we can defeat this pandemic.”
 
The Phase 3 study protocol follows the U.S. FDA guidance on clinical trial design for COVID-19 vaccine studies. The randomized, placebo-controlled trial is expected to include approximately 30,000 participants in the United States, testing an mRNA-1273 dosage of 100 µg. The primary endpoint will be the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Key secondary endpoints include prevention of severe COVID-19 disease (as defined by the need for hospitalization) and prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2 regardless of symptomology. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
 
The primary efficacy analysis of the Phase 3 study will be an event-driven analysis based on the number of participants with symptomatic COVID-19 disease. To ensure the ongoing safety monitoring of the participants in the trial, data will be reviewed by an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board organized by NIAID throughout the study. The clinicaltrials.gov identifier is NCT04470427.
 
Moderna is working closely with BARDA and the NIH, including NIAID’s COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), to conduct the Phase 3 COVE study under the auspices of Operation Warp Speed.
 
Moderna also is collaborating with long-standing partner PPD, a global contract research organization (CRO) providing integrated drug development, laboratory and lifecycle management services. PPD supported the Phase 2 study for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine program, which completed the enrollment of 600 subjects at eight research sites within a month. PPD has contributed an array of clinical development and laboratory services, including strategic expertise to the study design, patient-enrollment epidemiology modeling and biostatistics.
 
With its collaborators, Moderna has selected nearly 100 clinical research sites with representative demography and is partnering closely with those sites to ensure that volunteers at increased risk for COVID-19 disease are enrolled in the study. The clinical research sites, with the support of the company, are working within their local communities to reach a diverse population. Working together with collaborators, the Company hopes to achieve a shared goal that the participants in the COVE study are representative of the communities at highest risk for COVID-19 and of our diverse society.
 
The company said it remains on track to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021 because of the company’s internal U.S. manufacturing capabilities and strategic collaboration with Lonza, Ltd. In addition, Moderna recently announced a collaboration with Catalent, Inc. for large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing of mRNA-1273 at Catalent’s biologics facility for the U.S., and with ROVI of Spain for fill-finish manufacturing outside the U.S.