- Working to build up its manufacturing capacity, Moderna Therapeutics entered into a deal with Catalent Pharma Solutions to use the latter company’s Madison, WI-based facility for production of cancer-targeting messenger RNA vaccines.
- The deal gives the private, Cambridge, MA-based biotech access to a 100,000-square-foot, cGMP facility that boasts Catalent’s SMARTag and GPEx technology platforms, which work to optimize bioconjugates and cell lines, respectively.
- Moderna is extremely well-funded, reporting roughly $1.4 billion in cash on hand as of early September. The company has been investing in building out its manufacturing capabilities as it develops 11 pre-clinical and clinical programs.
In statement last week, Catalent said the facility would be used to develop mRNA therapeutics for Moderna's Phase 1/2 cancer studies.
“At the facility, we will be able to offer Moderna a separate dedicated production capability and a highly flexible, fast turnaround operation to support initial study of its novel mRNA-based personalized cancer vaccines,” Brian Riley, the general manager of the Madison plant, said in the release.
The deal should help bridge the gap for Moderna until its own facilities come on line. The company announced last month it is investing $110 million to construct a 200,000-square-foot facility in Norwood, MA. The plant will manufacture mRNA therapies for Phase 1/2 toxicology and clinical studies, and is slated for completion in early 2018.
Catalent will manufacture Moderna's personalized cancer vaccines, helping the biotech further its partnership with Merck which pairs mRNA therapeutics with Keytruda across a range of cancers. Merck paid Moderna $200 million upfront under terms of that deal.
Catalent has also been expanding its capabilities. The company acquired clinical manufacturer Pharmatek Laboratories, for example, in September for an undisclosed sum.
Neither company disclosed financial terms of the deal.