Moderna taps Baxter to support fill and finish of 60-90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

FILE PHOTO: A detail view of a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine vial at a vaccination site at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center in Arlington, Texas, U.S. February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Cooper Neill

(Reuters) - Drugmaker Baxter International Inc will help fill in vials and package about 60-90 million doses of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, the companies said on Monday.

Moderna’s two-shot vaccine is one of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States along with Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson’s.

Moderna, which expects to make 700 million to 1 billion doses of its vaccine this year, said in February that supply to the United States had lagged recently because of “short-term delays” in the final stages of production at its contractor Catalent Inc.

The company had signed a pact with Catalent last year to help support filling and packaging vials with its vaccine.

Under the pact with Baxter, the fill and finish of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will take place at the sterile manufacturing facilities located in Bloomington, Indiana, the companies said.

Fill and finish is the final step in the manufacturing process of putting the vaccine into vials or syringes, sealing them and packaging them up for shipping.

Baxter has also partnered with Novavax Inc to provide sterile manufacturing services for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Details on other terms of the pact with Moderna were not disclosed.

(This story corrects to add dropped word in headline)

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila