COVID-19: Moderna Enters Manufacturing Agreement with Samsung Biologics after Vaccine Bags Conditional Nod in South Korea

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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On May 22nd, Moderna announced a new Manufacturing Services and Supply Agreement with Samsung Biologics, the biopharma unit of Korea’s Samsung Group and one of the world’s largest CDMOs. As per the terms, Samsung Biologics will provide large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.

Moderna aims to supply millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to markets outside of the US starting in the third quarter of 2021. Only a day earlier, mRNA-1273 received conditional approval in South Korea, becoming the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the country after AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.

“We are pleased to partner with Samsung Biologics for this fill and finish manufacturing, which will help us continue to scale up our manufacturing capacity outside of the U.S.,” said Moderna CTO and Quality Officer Juan Andres in a statement. “We and our manufacturing partners remain committed to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.”


South Korea’s Mounting Pressure for COVID Vaccines

South Korea has been under growing pressure to obtain more US-made COVID-19 vaccines. On May 21st, US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed on a COVID-19 vaccine partnership that would combine US expertise and Korean production capacity.

Moon said the alliance would help supply COVID-19 vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region, while Biden said the US would provide vaccinations for 550,000 South Korean troops working with US forces in Korea.

Following those discussions, US drugmakers Moderna and Novavax signed a deal with the South Korean government to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines to meet the rising demands in the region.

“This vaccine is paramount to people around the world in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we truly appreciate our client Moderna for entrusting and choosing to partner with Samsung Biologics for the fill and finish of this important vaccine,” said John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics. “Due to the high level of urgency in supplying the vaccine to the global population, we have set immediate action plans and schedule to make mRNA-1273 available for commercial distribution in the early second half of 2021,” he added.

Related Article: Sanofi, GSK Report Positive Trial Data for COVID-19 Vaccine


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