Moderna Inc. has announced plans to cut production of the mRNA drug substance for its COVID-19 vaccine at Lonza’s facility in Switzerland. This decision is part of a strategy to align vaccine manufacturing with the lower post-pandemic demand. The company is in talks with global partners responsible for filling vials and syringes to downsize production.
The reduced demand for COVID-19 vaccines comes as payers decrease their orders for the shots, following the decline in the public health emergency. Lonza’s facility in Visp, Switzerland, has played a key role in manufacturing vaccine ingredients and supporting Moderna’s deliveries to Europe, Canada, and other countries outside the United States.
To address the change in demand, Moderna will absorb the production that was previously handled by Lonza at its internal manufacturing site in Norwood, Massachusetts, by 2024-25. Additionally, the company expects to leverage its new mRNA manufacturing facilities in the UK, Canada, and Australia, which will be completed by 2025. Moderna will also continue to rely on external drug substance capacity at Rovi in Spain, as part of its long-term partnership.
While Moderna adjusts its manufacturing capabilities, Rovi has stated that it does not anticipate any reductions in its vaccine production this year. Moderna collaborates with various partners, including Thermo Fisher, Sanofi, and Catalent, for the production and distribution of its COVID-19 vaccines.
This decision to reduce production aligns with Moderna’s earlier prediction that fall season demand in the United States would range between 50 and 100 million doses, a significant decrease compared to the 153.8 million shots administered in 2022. Rival company Pfizer also forecasts lower demand in the United States, estimating it to be around 24% of the population, or approximately 82 million people.