By Jonathan D. Rockoff 

Moderna Inc. said it will be able to make at least 600 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine this year, 100 million more than it had been projecting.

The Cambridge, Mass., company also said it is making investments and adding staff to make as much as one billion doses this year.

Last month, Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine became the second to be authorized for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration, after a shot from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE was cleared.

Both vaccines use a new, gene-based technology requiring special manufacturing equipment and expertise. The companies have been racing to build capacity, often with the help of partners like Lonza Ltd., to meet heavy demand.

"Our ability to increase baseline production estimates for 2021 are both signals that our scale up of mRNA vaccine production is a success," said Juan Andres, Moderna's head of technical operations.

Moderna has agreed to supply 517 million doses world-wide with options to make 376 million more, according to Jefferies & Co., which projects the shots will generate at least $11 billion in sales this year.

Moderna says it has supplied about 18 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. government so far. It expects about 100 million doses will be available for use in the U.S. by the end of March and a total of 200 million doses.

The U.S. federal government has bought 200 million doses, with options to purchase another 300 million more, and has been overseeing their distribution.

Canada, which also cleared Moderna's vaccine last month, has bought 40 million doses.

Israel on Monday became the third country to authorize Moderna's vaccine. Moderna said Israel has secured six million doses and it will begin deliveries shortly.

The authorizations are based on late-stage testing that found Moderna's vaccine was 94.1% effective and generally well tolerated. In the trial, subjects got two doses four weeks apart.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 05, 2021 11:02 ET (16:02 GMT)

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