Moderna Vaccine Effort Now Armed With Nearly a Billion Dollars in Fed Funds

Biotech Company says federal authority upped its promised support by up to $472 million.
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The biotech company Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report said on Sunday that the U.S. government would fund its Covid-19 vaccine efforts with up to an additional $472 million.

The funds, which would come from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority -- or BARDA -- would help bankroll the Massachusetts-based company's late-stage clinical development, including its phase 3 clinical trial, of the potential vaccine. 

An existing BARDA contract had essentially been modified after an earlier award from the authority for up to $483 million, bringing the total funding from the federal agency to about $955 million.

Moderna would use the funds for its potential vaccine known as mRNA-1273, which is planned to undergo a "significantly larger" phase 3 clinical trial. Expanding that trial left a gap in needed funding, said the firm.

With the revised contract, Modern said it could now conduct a trial with 30,000 people in the U.S. 

“Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive, in a statement.

The phase 3 study collaboration with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will start Monday, said the company. Moderna is one of dozens of companies around the world working on a possible vaccine for Covid-19.

By noon on Sunday the total known coronavirus case count in the U.S. was nearly 4.2 million, and the world now stands at more than 16 million recorded infections, according to the Johns Hopkins University disease-tracking map.

Total deaths in the U.S. have also risen to nearly 147,000.