Drugmakers that are developing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies are scouting for specialized manufacturers like Moderna's partner Lonza that can scale up production to billions of doses needed to supply the world, reported SwissInfo.
Lonza chairman Albert Baehny said that after the first batches of Moderna's vaccine are produced in the US in July, Lonza expects to produce initial "commercial volumes" at a site in New Hampshire in December, followed by a location in Switzerland in February.
According to the news source, each line could make as many as 100 million doses per year.
"We've had more than 100 inquiries, maybe 120, 140, I don't know," Baehny said, noting that while Lonza has agreed with Moderna to make as many as 1 billion doses a year, the Swiss company can still take on more production and expects to reach a few more collaboration pacts.
If needed, Lonza can add another manufacturing line in North America, two more in Switzerland and one in Singapore, with each line costing about $60 million to $70 million, though the first in the US will be funded by the government, Baehny said.
"We are investing in manufacturing without knowing if basically the vaccine will be accepted by the FDA," he noted, adding that is "a risk we never took in the past."
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