Moderna to Showcase Vaccine Programs in RSV, CMV and COVID-19 on Vaccines Day
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Following the success of its authorized vaccine against COVID-19, Moderna is boosting its efforts to develop preventative drugs in other viral areas. The company said it plans to invest additional resources to leverage the power of its mRNA vaccine pipeline.
This morning, the Boston-based company is hosting its second annual Vaccines day today, showcasing its mRNA programs in other indications, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). At the presentation, Moderna will announce positive interim Phase I data from the RSV candidate mRNA-1345 and 7-month interim Phase II data from the CMV vaccine candidate. The company will also discuss its plans for an HIV vaccine candidate and flu vaccine candidate that are both expected to enter the clinic later this year.
One day ahead of its vaccines discussion, Moderna announced new data in the ongoing COVID-19 battle. Recent results from a preclinical study of the Company’s COVID-19 variant-specific vaccine candidates showed that Moderna’s variant-specific booster vaccine candidates, mRNA-1273.351 and mRNA-1273.211, increase neutralizing titers against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, such as the South African variant. The company also announced that its authorized vaccine demonstrates a greater than 90% efficacy against the original strain of the virus six months after the first dose.
Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said his company has one of the largest and most innovative vaccine development pipelines across the industry. Many of the world’s viruses, including Zika, CMV and Epstein-Barr, do not have a readily available vaccine. There are also a number of novel viruses that are of concern. Over the past 40 years, Moderna said an average of two of these novel viruses have been discovered each year, including HIV-1, Hepatitis C and SARS-CoV-2.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop new vaccines against viruses hurting people around the world, at a pace that is radically different from what the industry has previously done. We are working to further increase our vaccine pipeline and accelerate these important programs. With our mRNA vaccines, we believe we have an opportunity to have a profound impact on human health,” Bancel said in a statement ahead of Vaccines Day.
Currently, Moderna has 14 different mRNA vaccine candidates enrolled in clinical studies. So far, data shows the company’s proprietary vaccine technology has generally been well-tolerated and can elicit durable immune responses to viral antigens. Moderna said it has “demonstrated the ability to attain high biological flexibility with the ability to develop mRNA vaccines against complex antigens and combination vaccines while leveraging mRNA as a platform with a flexible manufacturing infrastructure to advance a large portfolio quickly and efficiently.”
For its RSV vaccine candidate, which uses the same lipid nanoparticle (LNP) as Moderna’s authorized Covid-19 vaccine, the company said interim data from a younger-adult cohort in the Phase I study shows the vaccine is well-tolerated. The candidate mRNA-1345 was shown to increase RSV neutralizing antibodies in seropositive younger adults. Neutralizing antibodies were confirmed to be present at baseline in all participants.
For its CMV vaccine candidate, interim data from the Phase II study shows neutralizing antibodies against the infection. Moderna said the vaccine candidate continues to be well-tolerated and is planning to initiate a Phase III study later this year. A proof-of-principle study showed the vaccines could induce broadly neutralizing antibodies, a necessary strategy to develop an HIV vaccine, the company said.