Moderna reports successful trials of its mRNA vaccine against coronavirus; finalizes plans for final phase 3 trials
Last month, we told you about Moderna after the company announced positive results of Phase 1 trial for its mRNA vaccine against coronavirus. Moderna is a U.S.-based clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients.
Over the weekend, Moderna announced progress on late-stage development of its vaccine (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19. The company outlined its plans for Phase 3 clinical trials, which will begin in July. The randomized, 1:1 placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial is expected to include approximately 30,000 participants enrolled in the U.S. and is expected to be conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to the company, the Phase 3 trials will primarily study the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 disease and secondarily, the prevention of severe cases of Covid-19 which require hospitalization. The company also provided an update on its phase 2 trials which are currently underway. Moderna said that it had enrolled 350 out of its total planned 600 participants for the study.
The trial’s primary endpoint will be the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease; key secondary endpoints include prevention of severe COVID-19 disease (as defined by the need for hospitalization) and prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The primary efficacy analysis will be an event-driven analysis based on the number of participants with symptomatic COVID-19 disease.
Based on the results of the Phase 1 study, the 100 μg dose level was chosen as the optimal dose level to maximize the immune response while minimizing adverse reactions. Moderna said it completed manufacture of vaccine required to start the Phase 3 study. With the Phase 3 dose being finalized at 100 μg, the Company remains on track to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021 from the Company’s internal U.S. manufacturing site and strategic collaboration with Lonza.
“We look forward to beginning our Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 with some 30,000 participants in July,” said Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at Moderna. “Moderna is committed to advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 as safely and quickly as possible to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease.”
The first cohort of healthy adults ages 18-54 years (n=300) in the Phase 2 study of mRNA-1273 is fully enrolled, 13 days after the first participant was dosed. The sentinel participants in the cohort of older adults ages 55 years and above (n=50) is fully enrolled. This Phase 2 study, being conducted by Moderna, is evaluating the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of two vaccinations of mRNA-1273 given 28 days apart. The Company intends to enroll 600 healthy participants across two cohorts of adults ages 18-54 years (n=300) and older adults ages 55 years and above (n=300). Each participant will be assigned to receive placebo, a 50 μg or a 100 μg dose at both vaccinations. Participants will be followed through 12 months after the second vaccination.
On May 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed its review of the Company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for mRNA-1273 and on May 11, the FDA granted it Fast Track designation. On May 18, Moderna announced initial data from the Phase 1 study of mRNA-1273 led by NIAID. The Phase 1 study is ongoing with the original cohorts in long-term follow-up and enrollment in 9 of 12 cohorts complete. The NIH will be submitting the Phase 1 data to a peer-reviewed clinical publication.
Moderna currently has nine development candidates in its prophylactic vaccines modality, including:
Vaccines against respiratory infections
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for older adults (mRNA-1777 and mRNA-1172 or V172 with Merck)
- RSV vaccine for young children (mRNA-1345)
- Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and parainfluenza virus type 3 (PIV3) vaccine (mRNA-1653)
- COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273)
- Influenza H7N9 (mRNA-1851)
Vaccines against infections transmitted from mother to baby
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine (mRNA-1647)
- Zika vaccine (mRNA-1893 with BARDA)
Vaccines against highly prevalent viral infections
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) vaccine (mRNA-1189)
To date, Moderna has demonstrated positive Phase 1 data readouts for seven prophylactic vaccines (H10N8, H7N9, RSV, chikungunya virus, hMPV/PIV3, CMV and Zika). Moderna’s CMV vaccine is currently in a Phase 2 dose-confirmation study. Moderna’s investigational Zika vaccine (mRNA-1893), currently in a Phase 1 study, was granted FDA Fast Track designation in August 2019.