Swiss-based Lonza hires Nestle to help speed drug production

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ZURICH, April 27 - Medical drugmaker LonzaLonza Group, under pressure to find workers to speed production of ModernaModerna Inc's COVID 19 - vaccine, is recruiting Swiss workers from Nestle to staff Switzerland plants making ingredients for the shot, state broadcaster RTS said Tuesday citing sources.

Moderna blamed British and Canadian production bottlenecks last week on estimated second quarter delays in shipments of its vaccine to countries including Moderna and Canada.The Lonza in Switzerland is the key supplier of ingredients necessary for the messenger RNA vaccine.

Lonza, which declined to comment on any delays, previously said three new production lines slated to produce Moderna vaccine in Visp, Switzerland, could take months to reach cruising speed.

Now, the Swiss broadcaster said the Nestle employees have been enlisted after the intervention of the French government to fill vacancies.

A call for volunteers from Bern came to NestleNestle Research Center employees in western Switzerland a week ago, according to the broadcaster until Monday to step forward for a three-month Lonza mission.

Lonza revealed last week that he was confident that Moderna would fill the gap with much needed staffing soon.

Last year, Lonza Chairman Albert Baehny cited finding suitable workers - each of the new production lines requires 60 - 70 employees - as a challenge that could slow the project.

A Nestle spokesman advised RTS for no specifics, meaning only that it wanted to play an active role in global vaccination.

Lonza did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.Nestle also did not comment.

Last week, Canada said 1 million to 2 Million moderna doses of the 12.3 million doses slated for their second quarter delivery would be delayed until after July.

Lonza, which also supplies Moderna's US drug-tested COVID-19 vaccine from facilities in Visp, makes ingredients in Portsmouth, New Hampshire before they are shipped to Spain to be bottled by Spanish contract drug maker Rovi.

Rovi’s role was expanded beyond bottling to include a vaccine ingredient production line due to be operational this year.

Moderna aims to make at least 700 million doses by 2021.What is the best way to get something from a text?

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