Australia eyes Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine delivery

The Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) share price slipped overnight, despite the company announcing a deal with the Australian government.

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Medical asx share price fall represented by worried looking patient awaiting vaccine injection

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The Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) share price backtracked overnight (Aussie time), despite the company announcing a landmark deal with the Australian Government.

The United States-based pharmaceutical giant's shares failed to tread into positive territory, instead sinking almost 4% to US$152.68.

What deal did Moderna make?

The Australian federal government has signed a new deal with Moderna to deliver 25 million COVID-19 vaccines.

This comes at a crucial time during which the AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to a number of rare, blood-clotting cases across the world. Since then, the Australian Government has mandated that people under 50 years of age in Australia should instead receive the Pfizer jab.

Under the Moderna agreement, the first 1 million COVID-19 doses are set to be received in Australia this September. The following 9 million vials are expected to arrive later in December. Both shipments however are reportedly effective only against the original COVID-19 variant.

The remaining 15 million mRNA vaccines are being planned for 2022 and will contain boosters to fight more recent strains of the virus.

Moderna noted that it will shortly submit an application to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for regulatory approval.

Assuming the TGA gives the green light, this will provide Australians with another COVID-19 vaccine option. Currently, the country only offers the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine to the population.

The mRNA vaccine is currently being rolled out across the United States, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

What about local production?

In further news, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government will commence discussions with the private sector about locally producing the mRNA vaccines. This is most likely to include global biotech giant, CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) which has previously indicated it's open to such an initiative.

Moderna has also flagged it's open to the idea of Australia manufacturing its vaccine formula locally. 

Moderna CEO, Stephane Bancel commented:

As we seek to protect people around the world with our COVID-19 vaccine and potentially our variant booster candidates, we look forward to continuing discussions with Australia about establishing potential local manufacturing opportunities.

While the government has shied away from setting new vaccination targets, it is encouraged by more Australians being open to receiving the jab.

As of today, over 2.8 million Australians have been administered their COVID-19 vaccines, averaging around 350,000 people per week.

Moderna share price summary

Over the past 12 months, Moderna shares have accelerated, buoyed by the company's successful COVID-19 vaccine production. The Moderna share price reached a 52-week high of US$189.26 in March, before trending lower to its current level. 

Moderna commands a market capitalisation of roughly $61 billion, with more than 401 million shares on issue.

Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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