Portsmouth company tests potential COVID-19 vaccine

Tim Callery

A New Hampshire company is testing a vaccine that could prevent COVID-19.>> Download the free WMUR appLonza Biologics, of Portsmouth, has teamed up with Massachusetts-based Moderna to work on a potential vaccine. Phase one trials began in March, and the first batches could be produced this summer. The potential vaccine is called mRNA-1273.”It’s messenger RNA. It’s a critical component to our biology,” said Mark Caswell, head of engineering and facilities. “What it does is, it instructs our DNA to produce proteins for each cell in the human body.”The plan is to modify RNA to create proteins outside of cells, so it can then be used to fight diseases and viruses. “Ultimately, through any process, you go through phase two, then phase clinical’s. Then ultimately — hopefully — FDA approval and market launch and then commercial production,” Caswell said. Lonza intends to produce its first batches of mRNA-1273 at its facility in July. “We have the capacity and the capability to bring this product in,” Caswell said. “We have several manufacturing suites that are available in order for us to rapidly put this into production.”Lonza’s Switzerland location will also work on creating a vaccine. “We have that global footprint supply chain perspective. and that reinforces that aspect,” Caswell said. “We also have a facility in Singapore that could potentially serve as an additional manufacturing site.”If the vaccine is approved by the FDA, Lonza is hoping make up to 1 billion doses each year.

A New Hampshire company is testing a vaccine that could prevent COVID-19.

>> Download the free WMUR app

Lonza Biologics, of Portsmouth, has teamed up with Massachusetts-based Moderna to work on a potential vaccine. Phase one trials began in March, and the first batches could be produced this summer.

The potential vaccine is called mRNA-1273.

“It’s messenger RNA. It’s a critical component to our biology,” said Mark Caswell, head of engineering and facilities. “What it does is, it instructs our DNA to produce proteins for each cell in the human body.”

The plan is to modify RNA to create proteins outside of cells, so it can then be used to fight diseases and viruses.

“Ultimately, through any process, you go through phase two, then phase clinical’s. Then ultimately — hopefully — FDA approval and market launch and then commercial production,” Caswell said.

Lonza intends to produce its first batches of mRNA-1273 at its facility in July.

“We have the capacity and the capability to bring this product in,” Caswell said. “We have several manufacturing suites that are available in order for us to rapidly put this into production.”

Lonza’s Switzerland location will also work on creating a vaccine.

“We have that global footprint supply chain perspective. and that reinforces that aspect,” Caswell said. “We also have a facility in Singapore that could potentially serve as an additional manufacturing site.”

If the vaccine is approved by the FDA, Lonza is hoping make up to 1 billion doses each year.


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