Catalent signs deal with Moderna to speed up U.S. vaccine output

FILE PHOTO: A person holds a vial of the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a care home in Naples, Italy, March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) -Contract manufacturer Catalent Inc said on Tuesday it had signed an agreement with Moderna Inc to increase the speed of vaccine production at its U.S. facility.

Catalent, which last year signed an agreement to fill and package vials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, declined to comment on production targets after the new deal.

Under the expanded agreement, Catalent said it would dedicate to Moderna a new high-speed production line at its plant in Bloomington, Indiana, through June 2023, which could potentially be used to manufacture other drugs in Moderna’s portfolio as well.

The upgraded plant will be able to fill an additional 80 million vials a year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Last month, Moderna said it expects to meet its promise of delivering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the United States by the end of May and another 100 million by the end of July, by delivering 40-50 million doses per month.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath