Moderna has no plans to share the recipe for its COVID-19 vaccine, with executives believing scaling up the company’s own production is the best way to increase global supply.
Moderna Chairman Noubar Afeyan also reiterated a pledge the company made a year ago not to enforce patent infringement on anyone else making a coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic.
“We didn’t have to do that,” Mr Afeyan told The Associated Press. “We think that was the responsible thing to do.
“We want that to be helping the world.”
The United Nations health agency has pressed Moderna to share its vaccine formula, but Afeyan said the company determined it could expand production and deliver billions of additional doses in 2022.
“Within the next six to nine months, the most reliable way to make high-quality vaccines, and in an efficient way, is going to be if we make them,” he said.
Asked about appeals from the World Health Organisation and others, Afeyan contended such pleas assumed “we couldn’t get enough capacity, but in fact we know we can”.
Moderna “went from zero production to having one billion doses in less than a year”, he said, referring to the Massachusetts-based company’s sprint to develop the vaccine and produce it in large quantities.
“We will be able to go from one to three billion” in 2022, he said.
Pressed on recent criticism Moderna has been supplying its vaccine mainly to wealthy countries while low-income nations clamour for the product, Afeyan said the company is working with multiple governments “to help them secure supplies for the express purpose of supplying to low-income countries”.
“There is more supply in the EU and the US than they will be able to use,” he said.
Separately, Moderna made a commitment in May to Covax, the UN-backed vaccine programme, to arrange for a total of 500 million doses to go to poorer countries.
He said about 40 million doses would begin to ship this year, with the rest shipping in 2022.
The COVID-19 vaccine is Moderna’s only commercial product.
The company last week announced plans to open a vaccine plant in Africa, with a final decision on an exact location to be made soon.