Biotechnology company Moderna announced a new program for developing therapeutics and vaccines for the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), following its attainment of rights to the RSV from the pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck, which will allow the company to create RSV vaccines for adult patients, according to a press release from the company Thursday. Merck's vaccine (mRNA-1172), originally entered Phase 1 development in 2019, and under the terms of the new agreement, the company will complete the trials and then transition to the program to Moderna for further development. Under these conditions, Moderna has acquired all global commercial rights to develop vaccine candidates for RSV. Moderna will have the exclusive right to also advance RSV vaccines in adults, in combination with other vaccines focused on respiratory viruses.Moderna and Merck are also collaborating on a cancer vaccines, and have worked on since 2016 a potential specialized cancer vaccine candidate mRNA-4157, which has already entered Phase two trials. “We appreciate the collaboration with Merck to date and we are pleased to continue advancing our RSV vaccine (mRNA-1345), which uses our proprietary delivery technology,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer. “With this portfolio consolidation, we will continue to pursue RSV vaccines to protect the most vulnerable populations – young children and older adults. With our investments in science and manufacturing, we have taken eleven infectious disease vaccines into human clinical trials. The technology used in our core prophylactic vaccines modality has allowed us to accelerate research and development timelines and advance our mRNA vaccines into new areas of high unmet need. We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with Merck to advance our novel mRNA-based cancer vaccines,” Bancel added. As noted by the company in the press release, "Moderna scientists designed the company’s prophylactic vaccines modality to prevent infectious diseases. Across Moderna’s pipeline, more than 30,000 healthy volunteers and patients have been enrolled in Moderna’s clinical studies, including the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273. Clinical data demonstrate that Moderna’s proprietary vaccine technology has been generally well-tolerated and can elicit durable immune responses to viral antigens."Moderna further noted that "The potential advantages of an mRNA approach to prophylactic vaccines include the ability to combine multiple mRNAs into a single vaccine, rapid discovery to respond to emerging pandemic threats and manufacturing agility derived from the platform nature of mRNA vaccine design and production."On a separate note, Moderna announced the initiation of dosing in the phase one study of another RSV vaccine candidate (mRNA-1345). As part of this trial, doses will be given to adults initially, followed by children to make it viable to all age categories. Likewise, Moderna indicated its intent to advance mRNA-1345 in children in combination with mRNA-1653, which guards against two other pediatric respiratory viruses (hMPV, PIV3).