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New Moderna agreement will double vaccine drug substance production at Visp, says Lonza

Gareth Carpenter — 29 Apr 2021

Three additional drug substance manufacturing lines will be added to existing ones at Swiss site and are expected to be operational in early 2022

CDMO Lonza says it will double drug substance production of Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at its Visp site in Switzerland, after expanding its existing manufacturing agreement with the US biotech.

The deal paves the way for the installation of three additional drug substance manufacturing lines with equivalent capacities to existing lines at Visp, which are expected to be operational in early 2022.

“We have commenced and ramped up operations in our four existing production lines at an unprecedented rate and scale,” said Lonza CEO, Pierre-Alain Ruffieux. “Our new agreement with Moderna will double our drug substance manufacturing capacity in Visp, at this time of urgent global demand.”

Lonza said the new lines will be built at its Ibex Solutions facility, alongside the existing production lines for the Moderna vaccine.

The CDMO added that recruitment for the additional lines has already begun as part of wider recruitment efforts – including tapping the international market -- to support expansion plans at the Visp facility, including the recently announced construction of a new small molecule manufacturing complex.

Earlier this week Reuters reported that in a bid to speed up operations, Lonza is recruiting temporary employees from food company Nestle to staff Switzerland-based plants making ingredients for the Moderna vaccine, citing state broadcaster RTS.

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