Moderna announces longer shelf life for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate at refrigerated temperatures

Nov. 17, 2020

Moderna, Inc. announced new data showing that mRNA-1273, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, remains stable at 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F), the temperature of a standard home or medical refrigerator, for 30 days. 

Stability testing supports this extension from an earlier estimate of seven days. mRNA-1273 remains stable at -20° C (-4°F) for up to six months, at refrigerated conditions for up to 30 days and at room temperature for up to 12 hours. 

“We believe that our investments in mRNA delivery technology and manufacturing process development will allow us to store and ship our COVID-19 vaccine candidate at temperatures commonly found in readily available pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators,” said Juan Andres, Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer at Moderna. “We are pleased to submit these extended stability conditions for mRNA-1273 to regulators for approval. The ability to store our vaccine for up to 6 months at -20° C including up to 30 days at normal refrigerator conditions after thawing is an important development and would enable simpler distribution and more flexibility to facilitate wider-scale vaccination in the United States and other parts of the world.” 

Shipping & Long-term Storage  

For shipping and longer-term storage, Moderna expects that mRNA-1273 will be maintained at -20°C (-4°F), equal to most home or medical freezer temperatures, for up to 6 months. Using standard freezer temperatures of -20°C (range of -25° to -15°C or -13° to 5°F) is an easier and more established method of distribution and storage than deep freezing and most pharmaceutical distribution companies have the capability to store and ship products at -20°C (-4°F) worldwide. 

Refrigeration Storage 

After thawing, to facilitate storage at points of administration, Moderna expects that mRNA-1273 will remain stable at standard refrigerated conditions of 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) for up to 30 days within the six-month shelf life. The stability at refrigerated conditions allows for storage at most pharmacies, hospitals, or physicians’ offices. 

Room Temperature for Vaccination

Once the vaccine is removed from the refrigerator for administration, it can be kept at room temperature conditions for up to 12 hours. 

No Dilution Required at Vaccination Site 

The vaccine will not require onsite dilution or special handling, which facilitates vaccination across a range of settings including pharmacies and physicians’ offices. 

The company anticipates that it will continue to gather additional stability information over the coming months to assess whether mRNA-1273 can be shipped and stored under increasingly flexible conditions, which will be described in detail following regulatory approval. 

The mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine candidate is Moderna’s tenth mRNA vaccine to enter the clinic. With its experience in prophylactic vaccine development and investments in mRNA platform and delivery technology, Moderna has developed enhanced manufacturing processes, resulting in proprietary lipid nanoparticle technology that Moderna believes will enable the vaccine to be stored at standard pharmaceutical distribution temperatures. 

Moderna is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Operation Warp Speed and McKesson (NYSE: MCK), a COVID-19 vaccine distributor contracted by the U.S. government, as well as global stakeholders to be prepared for distribution of mRNA-1273, in the event that it receives an Emergency Use Authorization and/or similar global authorizations. The company is also working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to submit data from its ongoing stability testing for approval. 

Moderna has the release. 

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