Uploaded by Emilio Mohanna

Moderna case study

Emilio Mohanna
Consider how the company designed its production system during the early stages of
the pandemic and how Moderna's challenges have evolved in the last two years.
See yourself as a technical consultant hired by Moderna to support the production of
its novel vaccine candidate.
-- What actions taken by Moderna to scale up its production would you have also
-- What suggestions would you have made to Moderna (at the beginning of the
pandemic) given the information you know now about the pandemic?
-- --- --- Please consider design for manufacturing, sustainability, and logistics in
answering these questions?
The story of Moderna is very nice. It is essentially a biotech research company that tackled what most
companies even outside of pharma and biotech struggle with:
Managing data using artificial intelligence whilst getting rid of data silos
Getting rid of human error
Internet of things and implementing cross-department sharing of info
Outsourcing vs in-house
And many other challenges.
The reason Moderna was so proficient at creating the genetic sequence, finding a way to deliver those
sequences (method of containing i.e. carrying oil) and creating the vaccine required for all 3 phases of
clinical trial was due to the fact that the infrastructure was there from the start, the company was
already digitized, automated, had the mRNA platform ready (they only have to figure out which proteins
to use) so when the Chinese govt. released the DNA sequence for the coronavirus, it only took 42 days
to build the suitable vaccine, all by computer of course. They also had taken the risk of building a
manufacturing and research facility costing 125 million dollars just one hour away from HQ to facilitate
the logistics of any endeavour.
As a consultant for Moderna, I couldn’t have agreed more to the collaboration effort with the Swiss
biotech company, Lonza. The logistical, manufacturing and supply chain challenges of accommodating
the whole world with vaccines is impossible for Moderna to do alone. Now they can have an aid in the
production in addition to a new front in the continent of Europe.
The suggestions I would have made to Moderna knowing what I know now:
Many countries other than the USA have had one or maybe 2 vaccines that were provided by
the govt. many of which were not Moderna. This could be due to the insufficient capacity for
Emilio Mohanna
Moderna to supply these countries. Or logistical challenges associated with the distance. That is
essentially opportunity cost on Moderna, a market that Moderna could have sold to. Moderna
had 2 large grants, and even though the article does not mention what these grants were used
for, a suggestion would have been to either build manufacturing cells all around the globe and
have them all inter-connected. Or collaborate with local bio-manufacturers in different regions
and use the grant money to set up the needed infrastructure, digitization and automation to
match with Moderna’s processes.
To ensure sustainability, looking for a supplier who can provide recyclable syringes would be
key, disposing billions of syringes is neither economical, sustainable, or environmentally