Moderna Inc. MRNA, +15.39% said late Thursday that it will receive up to $483 million from the U.S. government to accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Shares in Moderna rose 2% in the extended session. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the Department of Health and Human Services awarded the cash to accelerate the company’s development of the mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate and fund it through U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensure. Moderna said that it plans to begin a Phase 2 study in the second quarter of 2020 and start Phase 3 testing as soon as the fall of 2020. The company said it plans to hire 150 new staff this year in the U.S. “By investing now in our manufacturing process scale-up to enable large scale production for pandemic response, we believe that we would be able to supply millions of doses per month in 2020 and with further investments, tens of millions per month in 2021, if the vaccine candidate is successful in the clinic,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. The first patient in the Phase 1 trial received a dose of the vaccine candidate March 16.
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