May 12, 2020 / BY ALICE PARK
On May 12, Moderna Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Mass., received fast-track approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. Days earlier, the FDA gave the company the green light to proceed to Phase 2 testing of the vaccine, which is expected to begin shortly. The company plans to launch the final stage of human testing, Phase 3, this summer, assuming the Phase 2 studies are complete, says Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna.
Fast-track designation boils down to a more expedited review process by the FDA. In particular, it means the agency can review data on a rolling basis so an entire application for approval isn’t held up until the final piece of data is collected and analyzed. “It’s validation that the FDA believes this is a very credible exercise,” says Hoge.