Business Experts doubt Moderna's vaccine

Experts doubt Moderna’s vaccine

Wall Street recovery loses momentum

In the last hour of trading, key indices turned significantly negative after a report questioned a Moderna coronavirus vaccine test.

May 20, 2020

Vaccine experts raise doubts about the effectiveness of Moderna’s corona vaccine candidate. The Basel-based pharmaceutical supplier Lonza produces the active ingredient for the vaccination of the American biotech company. Lonza invests millions in production.

A media report raises doubts about the potential effectiveness of the corona vaccine that American company Moderna Therapeutics is currently working on. The interim results presented would not provide critical data necessary to assess effectiveness.

The US news service Stat News, which specializes in the health sector, reports on the night of Wednesday, citing experts. The report immediately weighed on Moderna shares. On Monday, they shot up 20 percent after the company reported encouraging interim clinical trial results for their vaccine candidate.

In an interview with the “Tages-Anzeiger” on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Group CEO ad interim of the Basel-based pharmaceutical supplier Lonza, Albert Baehny, also made it clear that his company does not produce the vaccine but the active pharmaceutical ingredient, i.e. the active ingredient, for Moderna . The active ingredient then goes to another company, where it is combined with other ingredients and the vaccination is completed and filled. “So far only results from phase 1 are there,” he said. Phase 1 is a clinical trial in which a drug candidate that was previously only tested on animals is tested for the first time on healthy volunteers. The main goal is to evaluate the absorption of the active ingredient, tolerability and safety.

The Lonza Group has made it clear that it is producing an active ingredient for Moderna, but not the vaccine for a possible coronavirus vaccination. (Icon image)

Keystone

Lonza is investing millions without knowing whether the vaccine will work. “It’s kind of a bet,” said Baehny. “And as a Swiss you should see that we take our social responsibility seriously and thank you.”



Lonza hopes for final results by the end of 2020

According to Baehny, Lonza hopes for final results by the end of the year, so that the Swiss company can then start production at the beginning of next year. “But Moderna has the responsibility,” continued the 67-year-old manager. The active ingredient is the most critical component, but Lonza does not have the vaccine, Baehny emphasized. It is the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company’s sole responsibility to decide who the vaccine products will be sold to, he said. Moderna was founded in 2010 and has not yet launched any product, which is normal given the years of development of marketable drugs and vaccines.

It is therefore conceivable that there will be distribution conflicts after the vaccine is finished. When asked whether Switzerland had not asked for the vaccine to be distributed fairly, the manager said that talks with the Federal Council and the Federal Office of Public Health were still ongoing. The Swiss authorities are well informed about everything, said Baehny.

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