– Lonza has to stop vaccine production for Moderna in Visp
The US biotech company will produce its own mRNA vaccine needs in the future. The Swiss pharmaceutical supplier must therefore stop production in Valais.
The pharmaceutical supplier Lonza has to stop producing the corona vaccine for Moderna at its Visp site in the third quarter. The US biotech company Moderna will be able to meet the sharp drop in demand following the pandemic with its own plants in the USA as well as with its new facilities in Great Britain, Canada and Australia.
Lonza confirmed in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that Moderna had terminated the contract to produce the mRNA active ingredient in Visp. Discussions about details regarding the termination of the cooperation are still ongoing. Moderna had the vaccine produced in the Upper Valais during the corona pandemic for certain markets, including Switzerland. Lonza is in the process of using employees for other projects.
During the pandemic, Lonza was desperately looking for staff to ramp up production for the vaccine. Even the state helped with the search for skilled workers in April 2021.
According to Moderna, the reason for the now announced closure of the vaccine production lines in Visp is the declining global demand for corona vaccines. This declined with the transition from a pandemic to an endemic market. The withdrawal comes as no surprise. Last week, Moderna told the AWP news agency that it would reduce production capacity in Visp.
Vaccine production at Moderna factories
From now on, Moderna will cover vaccine demand for 2024 and 2025 from its own locations in Norwood, Massachusetts, it said. In addition, additional capacity will be added from 2025 when Moderna’s new mRNA production facilities in the UK, Canada and Australia go into operation.
It is still unclear what the closure of vaccine production means for the plant and employees in Visp. Lonza is looking into ways to accommodate the affected employees in other customer programs and growth projects, the pharmaceutical supplier writes. The business model is “agile enough to be able to react flexibly to evolving customer demand”.
For Lonza, the closure of vaccine production in Visp is the next bad news after the abrupt departure of boss Pierre-Alain Ruffieux had to be announced on Monday. Until a successor is determined, Chairman of the Board of Directors Albert Baehny will take over CEO duties on an interim basis. On Monday, Lonza shares on the Swiss stock exchange fell by 15 percent. On Tuesday afternoon the price can only recover slightly with an increase of around two percent.