Countries around the world are in the race for the first corona vaccine. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 165 vaccines are currently in test and study phases. No drug has so far proven that it protects against Covid-19, let alone that it can be used in humans.
The US pharmaceutical company Moderna is one of the most promising candidates to be the first to launch an effective vaccine on the market. As «CH Media» reports, the US company is now opening tents in Switzerland, specifically in Basel. This is said to be close to Lonza, the pharmaceutical supplier in Basel, who is to manufacture the active ingredient.
Accordingly, at the end of June the company from the tax haven in Delaware, USA, registered as Moderna Switzerland GmbH in the Swiss commercial register. Moderna is obviously looking for proximity to its partner Lonza with its headquarters in Basel. To this end, the US company has currently advertised more than 20 jobs in Basel. Management members are sought for quality assurance and logistics.
Lonza is expanding capacities
In order to prepare the worldwide distribution of the active ingredient with an annual production of 400 million cans, Lonza is building four production lines in the USA and in Visp in Valais. The active ingredient manufactured by Lonza will then be processed by other companies into vaccine doses that can be injected.
The US government is also paying a lot of money to develop a vaccine. Moderna receives almost a billion dollars in grants. The third and final test phase for the vaccine has been running for a week with 30,000 subjects.
Switzerland would not be favored
There is obviously hope in Basel that Moderna will also set up its European headquarters in the city. In addition to tax advantages, Basel also offers existing specialists through numerous pharmaceutical and biotech companies that have had their European headquarters there for some time, including Johnson & Johnson, Biogen and Amgen.
But a Swiss headquarters is also unlikely to have any influence on the distribution issue. Production could go through Switzerland, but Lonza President Albert Baehny (67) has emphasized on several occasions that, as a supplier, he has no influence on which countries the vaccine is delivered to as a priority. (kes)