Moderna CEO: Vaccine could be approved for emergency use in December

The Cambridge-based biotech company is one of the leaders in the vaccine race.

A nurse prepares a shot for a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. AP Photo/Hans Pennink

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Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Cambridge-based biotech company Moderna, told the Wall Street Journal Monday that the US government could approve its vaccine for emergency use in December.

It depends on if the company gets enough positive results from its ongoing clinical trial by the end of next month, Bancel said at the newspaper’s annual Tech Live conference. Otherwise, emergency authorization might have to wait until early next year, the CEO said.

Moderna began its massive U.S. study with 30,000 participants in July. At the start of this month, the CEO said he doesn’t think the vaccine will be widely available until next spring.


Moderna’s vaccine is one of only a handful of projects worldwide that have reached Phase 3 trials, according to the New York Times’ coronavirus vaccine tracker. Some vaccines produced in Russia and China have already been approved for early or limited use in their respective nations, but none have completed Phase 3 trials yet.

Of the other major competitors stateside, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the furthest along. Last week, Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla said the company won’t seek authorization until mid-November at the earliest. The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson trials are both paused in the U.S. to investigate complications in individual volunteers.


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