DGAP-News: BB BIOTECH AG / Key word(s): Market Report 
BB BIOTECH AG: Moderna and its COVID-19 vaccine are representative of the 
innovative power of the entire biotech industry 
 
2020-12-16 / 09:40 
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. 
 
Media release of December 16, 2020 
 
Market commentary 
 
*Moderna and its COVID-19 vaccine are representative of the innovative power 
of the entire biotech industry* 
 
*Moderna, the US company about to launch an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, is 
the latest shining example of the progress biotech companies are making for 
the good of society. In addition to the highly promising mRNA technology, 
molecule design and CRISPR technology were highlighted at BB Biotech's 
BioDay, a special event that casts a spotlight on some of the industry's 
most promising trends.* 
 
Less than 11 months after the SARS-CoV-2 genome was decoded, the first two 
vaccine candidates that could help to bring the global coronavirus pandemic 
under control had already been submitted to regulatory authorities for 
approval. "The mRNA technology used by Moderna is a good example of how 
innovative technologies developed and applied in the labs of biotech 
companies are driving medical progress," explains Dr. Daniel Koller, Head of 
BB Biotech's Investment Team. 
 
*mRNA technology - preferred method for future vaccine development* 
"Our vision is to develop a new generation of medicines," explained Stéphane 
Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in his presentation at BB Biotech's BioDay. 
Regulatory approval of Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine against COVID-19 will 
clear the way for other applications with mRNA vaccines. In clinical trials, 
Moderna's vaccine was 94.1% effective across all age groups. 
 
An independent advisory board of the US FDA will convene on December 17. The 
FDA will decide whether to approve the vaccine 24 to 72 hours after the 
board's recommendation is announced. Moderna will market the product on its 
own. The company has set up a logistics infrastructure that will allow 
international dispatch to commence within 24 hours of approval. US approval 
is expected to be granted before the end of 2020. EU regulators are expected 
to announce their approval decision in the second week of January. The 
COVID-19 vaccine will be produced by the Swiss company Lonza. Up to 20 
million doses could be produced in the final weeks of 2020 and one billion 
doses in 2021. 
 
Given all the advantages mRNA offers, Bancel is sure it will establish 
itself as the technology of choice for vaccine development once the first 
product has been approved. The higher probability of response will be a 
crucial factor here, Bancel believes. Because human mRNA has the same 
chemical structure in all molecules, and mRNA-based drugs differ only in the 
coded genetic information they contain, mRNA platforms can be used to 
develop a variety of drugs in shorter periods of time. In the case of the 
SARS-CoV-2 virus, Moderna took just a few days to select the sequence for 
the vaccine from the virus's gene sequence. Another bonus of the mRNA 
mechanism is that all vaccines are packaged in the same molecular envelopes, 
which makes it easier to produce large volumes. Moreover, unlike the rival 
Biontech/Pfizer product, the vaccine can be stored for a period of up to six 
months at minus 20 degrees Celsius, 30 days at refrigerator temperatures of 
six to eight degrees, and six hours at room temperature. 
 
Through its investment in robotics, IT and production processes, Moderna 
has, in the words of Bancel, created the conditions for scaling up all 
clinical products that the biotech company brings to the market in the 
future. Management had initially planned to reach this milestone in 2023 but 
that time frame was shortened by three years thanks to the development and 
government funding of its COVID-19 vaccine program. Moderna currently has 13 
products in clinical testing, six of which are cancer vaccines and seven 
infectious disease vaccines. BB Biotech first invested in Moderna in 2018, 
before the company even went public. 
 
*On-screen molecule design* 
An alternative novel treatment approach emerging from biotech laboratories 
is called molecule design. Relay Therapeutics, which was floated on the 
stock exchange in July 2020, is a leader in rational drug design. The 
process involves studying the movement of protein molecules to understand 
the role of protein motion in causing disease. Relay uses a computational 
platform instead of conventional three-dimensional crystal structures. 
Machine learning is used for digital simulation and visualization of 
chemical and biophysical processes that occur on a timescale of 
milliseconds. This is a faster and cheaper way to identify molecules with 
potential to be developed as drugs. What's more, molecule design allows more 
customized mechanisms of action because properties like pharmacodynamics, 
effective dose, bioavailability and toxicity can all be tweaked much more 
precisely. Relay Therapeutics is using this technology to develop oral 
medications to treat cancer. The most advanced candidate, RLY-1971, is an 
SHP2 inhibitor mainly being tested for use in combination with other drugs. 
RLY-1971 is currently in the Phase I clinical trial stage. Relay intends to 
present topline data for two products in 2021. 
 
*CRISPR fixes genetic defects for good* 
The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier and 
Jennifer A. Doudna in October 2020 underlines the importance of genome 
editing as a disruptive technology for future drug development. This 
molecular biological tool is used to make targeted changes in the human 
genome to cure diseases permanently. Genome editing is already being used 
with success in cell-based cancer therapies. In contrast, CRISPR 
Therapeutics is a leading exponent of ex-vivo applications of the 
CRISPR/Cas9 approach. This involves taking cells from a patient, modifying 
them in a lab and re-administering them to the patient. The novelty of the 
approach is that fragments of human DNA identified as genetic triggers of 
disease are cut out and repaired using genetic replacement parts. The 
CRISPR/Cas9 enzyme activates the genetic repair mechanism which every 
somatic cell possesses. 
 
BB Biotech has been invested in CRISPR Therapeutics since the first quarter 
of 2019. The company is pursuing two clinical trials in beta thalassemia and 
sickle cell anemia in cooperation with Vertex Pharma, a core position in BB 
Biotech's portfolio. Both diseases are inherited genetic disorders that 
result in the defective formation of blood cells with severe progression. 
The genetically modified stem cells that were administered back to the 
patients led to a complete cure. In addition to these two clinical trials, 
CRISPR Therapeutics is pursuing three cell-based projects in immuno-oncology 
on its own. 
 
*For further information:* 
 
*Media Relations* 
Bellevue Asset Management AG, Seestrasse 16, 8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland, 
tel. +41 44 267 67 00 
Tanja Chicherio, [1][email protected] 
 
www.bbbiotech.com [2] 
 
*Company profile* 
BB Biotech AG is an investment company domiciled in Schaffhausen/Switzerland 
and listed on the stock exchanges in Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Since 
1993, the company has invested in innovative drug development companies that 
are mainly located in the US and Western Europe. BB Biotech is one of the 
leading investors in this sector. BB Biotech builds on the long-standing 
experience of its distinguished Board of Directors and on the fundamental 
analysis of the experienced Investment Management Team of Bellevue Asset 
Management AG when making its investment decisions. 
 
*Disclaimer * 
This release contains forward-looking statements and expectations as well as 
assessments, beliefs and assumptions. Such statements are based on the 
current expectations of BB Biotech, its directors and officers, and are, 
therefore, subject to risks and uncertainties that may change over time. As 
actual developments may significantly differ, BB Biotech and its directors 
and officers accept no responsibility in that regard. All forward-looking 
statements included in this release are made only as of the date of this 
release and BB Biotech and its directors and officers assume no obligation 
to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, 
future events or other factors. 
 
2020-12-16 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a 
service of EQS Group AG. 
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. 
 
The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, 
Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases. 
Archive at www.dgap.de 
Language:    English 
Company:     BB BIOTECH AG 
             Schwertstrasse 6 
             8200 Schaffhausen 
             Switzerland 
Phone:       +41 52 624 08 45 
E-mail:      [email protected] 
Internet:    www.bbbiotech.ch 
ISIN:        CH0038389992 
WKN:         A0NFN3 
Listed:      Regulated Market in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Regulated 
             Unofficial Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, 
             Munich, Stuttgart; SIX 
EQS News ID: 1155390 
 
End of News DGAP News Service 
 
1155390 2020-12-16 
 
 
1: mailto:[email protected] 
2: https://eqs-cockpit.com/cgi-bin/fncls.ssp?fn=redirect&url=f80c4feec698b1c5fa8ce919781cfb2a&application_id=1155390&site_id=vwd&application_name=news 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 16, 2020 03:40 ET (08:40 GMT)



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