The UK government has secured an additional two million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273, taking the agreed supply up to seven million doses in total.

Moderna will begin to send the doses in March 2021, the company said in a statement yesterday.

In October, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed that it had started the rolling review process of mRNA-1273.

Following this, Moderna announced in November that the vaccine candidate met the pre-specified statistical criteria in the phase COVE III study protocol for efficacy, with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5%.

"We appreciate the collaboration with the UK government as with many other governments and other key partners around the world," said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.

"For almost a decade, Moderna has invested in creating and developing a novel platform for designing and manufacturing a new class of mRNA-based vaccines. We are proud of the progress on mRNA-1273 we have made to date including the positive interim analysis from our phase III COVE study,” he added.

Moderna has already begun scaling up its global manufacturing capabilities for mRNA-1273 and is aiming to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year and possibly up to one billion doses per year beginning in 2021.

The US-based biotech company is working with its strategic manufacturing partners – Lonza of Switzerland and ROVI of Spain – for manufacturing and fill-finish outside the US.

“It is essential that we continue to bolster our portfolio of vaccine candidates to ensure we’re in the best possible position to protect the public once we see that breakthrough,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

“The UK was one of the first countries in Europe to sign a deal with Moderna, and I’m delighted we have been able to secure a further 2 million doses of their promising candidate for the British public,” he added.