Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel had some good news in regards to a vaccine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). During an appearance Wednesday morning on Fox Business’ Mornings With Maria, the CEO told host Maria Bartiromo that the vaccine could potentially be ready for submission to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year, per The Hill.
“It is possible — assuming a best-case scenario and there are many risks that could derail us, obviously — but we could potentially be in a position to file to the FDA toward the end of the year or early next year.”
Moderna is one of the biotech companies currently developing a vaccine for the coronavirus alongside the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and its director Anthony Fauci. While Bancel was positive about the potential vaccine, he made sure to temper the claim by making it clear that the timeline he referenced would be the “best-case scenario.”
Bancel’s confidence was buoyed by Moderna’s announcement on Monday that data from their phase one clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine has shown success in stimulating antibodies for the disease. In the interview with Bartiromo, Bancel responded to criticisms that the company has yet to publish the study in any scientific journals and only disclosed results from eight of the 45 participants in the test.
“We said on Monday this is an interim phase one study and it was a small number of subjects. This is top-line data. It will be published very soon. We are talking weeks, not months.”
Bancel acknowledged that the results are currently “interim data” that would need to be peer-reviewed, but added, “it’s a small data set… but, they are encouraging data.”
Bancel and Moderna will be looking to expand trials during phase two, which would include hundreds of participants. The CEO said that the FDA has given Moderna “the green light” to enter the second phase, and the company is currently in the final planning stages for phase three. Phase three would include thousands of subjects and could begin as soon as the beginning of July, according to Bancel.
Bancel also announced Moderna has partnered with the Swiss biotech company Lonza in order to expand their manufacturing capacity when it is time to begin producing the vaccine.
“They are allowing us through their infrastructure and their factories to potentially build manufacturing capacity to deliver up to 1 million doses.”
Bancel said that the manufacturing of the vaccine could begin in July, even before phase three of the trial is complete.