By Dhirendra Tripathi
Investing – Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA ) shares rose 4% Wednesday as the company announced two developments, one that will help it halve the doses of its Covid-19 shots and thus reach more people quickly and the second under which it will supply up to 500 million doses of the vaccine to UNICEF through 2022.
It has signed a deal with Switzerland’s Lonza (SIX: LONN ) which said a new production line in Geleen, Netherlands, will have capacity to make ingredients for up to 300 million doses annually at 50 micrograms per dose.
Moderna, which has been studying lower-dose versions to help stretch supplies of its vaccine, has been delivering an approved 100-microgram dose to date. Lower doses aren’t approved yet, but the company is hoping they will be.
The drug maker has said early booster shot data for a 50-microgram version showed it helped protect against emerging virus variants. Lower-doses may also be given to children who may not require a full one.
The Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE )-BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX ) shot has already been approved for 12-15-year-olds in Europe and the U.S. Moderna is aiming for a similar nod as data showed its shot was found safe.
Under the other announcement, Moderna said it will deliver UNICEF and its procurement partners up to 34 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the December quarter and up to 466 million doses in 2022.
Moderna aims to deliver up to 3 billion doses in 2022, up from 800 million to 1 billion doses this year, Reuters said. It has not yet specified the dosing mix.
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