What happened

Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) climbed 5.5% on Thursday after the biotechnology company said that it had struck a deal with a key manufacturer for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.  

So what 

Moderna will collaborate with European pharmaceutical company Laboratorios Farmaceuticos ROVI to potentially produce large-scale quantities of Moderna's novel coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA-1273.

A woman in safety gear is pouring liquid into vials with a dropper.

Moderna stock rose on Thursday on news of a new international supply deal. Image source: Getty Images.

ROVI will ramp up vial-filling and packaging capacity at its facility in Madrid. Moderna says its manufacturing partner will help it supply "hundreds of millions of doses" of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, should it receive regulatory approval, to markets outside the U.S. beginning as soon as early 2021.

Now what

Moderna's vaccine candidate has delivered promising phase 1 results. The biotech currently has a phase 2 trial underway, and it's hoping to begin a phase 3 trial in the coming weeks. Although there can be no assurances that Moderna's vaccine will prove safe and effective against COVID-19, the company is positioning itself to be able to move quickly should its experimental drug receive approval from health authorities.

"We are very happy about the collaboration with Moderna, whose vaccine against COVID-19 is one of the front-runners in the race to solve this health crisis," ROVI CEO Juan Lopez-Belmonte said. "We would be thrilled for ROVI to form part of the solution to this pandemic that is affecting all of us and to support Moderna in supplying it on a wide scale."