Moderna and Catalent in Deal to Package Covid Vaccine

Catalent will provide vial filling, packaging services and additional staffing to release Moderna's coronavirus-vaccine candidate this quarter.
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Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report and Catalent  (CTLT) - Get Report unveiled a joint effort to release Moderna's coronavirus-vaccine candidate this quarter.

Drug-delivery specialist Catalent will provide vial-filling and -packaging services for drugmaker Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, the companies said.

The agreement also involves Catalent, Somerset, N.J., providing additional staffing at Catalent’s biologics facility in Bloomington, Ind. 

The employees will support production of an initial 100 million doses of the drug to supply the U.S. market starting in the third quarter this year.

The companies said they are discussing fill-finish capacity for continued production of hundreds of millions of doses.

Catalent also will provide clinical supply services from its facilities in Philadelphia to support Moderna’s Phase III clinical study for the vaccine.

Moderna joins other companies working on coronavirus vaccines who are establishing manufacturing agreements to speed up distribution of the treatments to the public, before the drugs have even completed their clinical trials, MarketWatch reports.

Moderna, Cambridge, Mass., said last month that results from the first human trial of its vaccine were positive. It said it would begin a Phase III trial in July, earlier than it previously hoped.

Goldman Sachs analyst Salveen Richter raised her price target on the stock to $105 from $63 on the “encouraging" vaccine data, while affirming a buy rating. Richter lifted the probability of success for the vaccine to 75% from 70%.

Moderna shares recently traded at $60.46, down 6.8%. The stock has more than doubled over the past three months.

Catalent shares recently traded at $72.83, up 3.4%. The stock has jumped 58% over the past three months.